New Delhi: The US defence secretary on Tuesday said that the United States and India are united against China’s “aggression”, after top level talks between key ministers from the two countries. This comes amid increased tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made China the focus of their meeting with India’s foreign and defence ministers.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder, in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific for all,” said Esper after the meeting.
Pompeo said that China is “no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency, nor to freedom of navigation”.
It needs mention here that India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh did not mention China by name during the meeting, but the foreign minister said peace was only possible when all countries respect “the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states”.
The United States and India signed off on a series of accords including one which will allow the US military to share sensitive satellite and sensor data with its Indian counterparts.
For Pompeo, India was the first leg of a tour also taking him to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia. China’s growing investment and influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives have sparked concern in Washington and Delhi.
Ahead of the visit, Beijing’s embassy in Colombo warned Pompeo not to “coerce and bully” Sri Lanka against China.
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