Top diplomats of India, US discuss regional situation

New Delhi (NVI): Amid heightened military activity by China, India and the US today reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

The commitment was reaffirmed during virtual consultations between Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale as they reviewed the entire gamut of engagements under the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

The two diplomats had discussions on political, economic, commercial, regional and international cooperation.

Shringla and Under Secretary Hale exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of shared interest.

The reference to Indo-Pacific region during the conversation assumes as China has recently increased its military activity in South China Sea and in relation to its neighbours.

The two diplomats also agreed to remain in touch and move forward on the bilateral agenda through a range of mechanisms like the 2+2 Ministerial that India will host later this year.

They agreed on the need to deepen cooperation in the United Nations, especially during India’s membership of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2021-2022, a statement issued by External Affairs Ministry said.

In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shringla and Hale agreed to further strengthen the bilateral health partnership, including on pharmaceuticals and vaccine development.

They discussed ways to further enhance mutually beneficial trade and people-to-people ties, including through visa facilitation for students and professionals, according to the MEA statement.

-ARK