By Arul Louis
New York– US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that he was confident that concerted efforts by India and the US can protect their interests in the face of China’s “unacceptable behaviour.”
Speaking remotely at the US-India Business Council Ideas Summit, he called India “a key pillar in Trump’s foreign policy” and said, “The United States has never been more supportive of India’s security.”
He said, “The recent clashes initiated by the PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) are just the latest examples of the CPC’s (Communist Party of China) unacceptable behaviour. We were deeply saddened by the death of 20 Indian soldiers.”
“I am confident because of our concerted efforts we can protect our interests,” he said.
He added, “I’m happy to report that India is a rising US defence and security partner in the Indo-Pacific and globally.”
Pompeo also commended India for banning 59 Chinese apps including TikTok citing a serious security risk even as he launched a scathing attack on China, saying that Beijing cannot threaten countries and “bully them in the Himalayas”.
He said, “India has a chance to divert global supply chains away from China and reduce reliance on Chinese companies in areas like telecom, medical supplies and others. India is in this position because it has earned the trust of many nations including the US.”
In a reference to the India-China border standoff, Pompeo accused Beijing of bullying its neighbours and blamed it for instigating the deadly confrontation with India in eastern Ladakh.
“We think that the entire world needs to work together to ensure that every country, including China, behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order.
“You cannot go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to. You cannot threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas. You cannot engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organization,” the top US diplomat said earlier on Wednesday.
“The CPC’s exploitation of this disaster to further its own interests has been disgraceful. Rather than helping the world, General Secretary Xi Jinping has shown the world the party’s true face. We talked about how we have seen Hong Kong’s freedoms crushed. We have watched the CPC bully its neighbours, militarise features in the South China Sea, and instigate a deadly confrontation with India,” Pompeo said.
He urged the international community to “work together to ensure that every country, including China, behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order”.
He stressed on the need of international cooperation in the face of Chinese overreach. “Important that democracies like ours work together at a time when we see the true scope of the challenge posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
Addressing the event, US Ambassador to India Ken Juster said, “No one wants to have conflict in the region (Indo-Pacific region). We want it to be an inclusive vision but we’re going to need to work with trusted and likeminded partners to develop guidelines, redlines and other ways to fulfill the vision we share for the Indo-Pacific region.”
Indian envoy to the US T.S. Sandhu said that President Donald Trump’s visit to India in February this year has helped elevate the relationship to a comprehensive global strategic partnership. “The world has changed a lot since then. There has been expanded collaboration between our countries in health and vaccine development,” he said. (IANS)