Singapore summit: Pence, Modi to discuss bilateral relationship, defense cooperation
US Vice President Mike Pence and PM Narendra Modi would discuss India-US defense cooperation and bilateral relationship during their meeting in Singapore next week, the White House said yesterday. Confirming the aforementioned statement, a senior WH administration official, while talking to foreign journalists during a conference call yesterday, added, "I can't really say if they will get into trade (ties) specifically at this time."
Talks will include about maintaining free and open Indo-Pacific region
Responding to a question, the official said the two leaders would be talking about "a common vision" for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific as India has talked about the Act East Policy and their "enormous convergence" in these two approaches. "We share, seeks to promote and sustain including a freedom of navigation and overflight, sustainable development for the (Indo-Pacific) region," he said.
'India is a dominant figure politically, culturally in Indian Ocean'
The official further asserted that "sky is the limit" for India's role in the Indo-Pacific region. Noting that India is "such a huge component" of the Indo-Pacific region, he said, "It's the second largest population, the world's largest democracy, while the US is the world's second largest democracy." He added that India is also the dominant feature politically and culturally in the Indian Ocean.
Official lauds the progress in India-US partnership
Referring to the recent "two plus two dialogue" in New Delhi, the official said Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a "very, very good" meeting. "It was amazing to see the amount of progress that's been made in areas of cooperation as part of our partnership," said the official, who spoke with foreign reporters on condition of anonymity.
Pence to leave on a four-nation Asia trip next weekend
Modi and Pence are actually scheduled to meet during the ASEAN and East Asia Summit in Singapore next week. Pence leaves on a four-nation Asia trip over the weekend, to Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Papua New Guinea. He will be representing President Donald Trump at the ASEAN and East Asia Summit in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Papua New Guinea.