Jaishankar, Pompeo discuss Quad, 2+2, regional issues

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. File

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo spoke with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday to discuss a range of bilateral issues including, as per a U.S. State Department statement, “recent destabilizing actions in the region,” possibly a reference to Chinese aggression on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The two politicians spoke on a day when U.S President Donald Trump signed executive orders announcing a ban on transactions involving key Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, for predominantly security-related reasons.

“Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar to discuss ongoing bilateral and multilateral cooperation on issues of international concern, including efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, support the peace process in Afghanistan, and address recent destabilizing actions in the region,” a statement from Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown said.

The U.S. has been lobbying its allies and partners to take action against Chinese technology companies - such as network giant Huawei and also calling out Chinese aggression and adventurism in the Indo-Pacific region and Hong Kong.

Mr Jaishankar was more circumspect in his description of regional issued discussed on Thursday's telephone call.

“A wide-ranging conversation yesterday night with @SecPompeo. Reviewed our bilateral cooperation including working of relevant mechanisms. Shared assessments on regional and global issues including South Asia, Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific & beyond,” Mr Jaishankar said on Twitter.

“Exchanged views on responding to the Coronavirus challenge. Discussed meeting in the Quad format in the near future.”

The U.S. statement also suggested the ministers would meet again in the Quadrilateral format — i.e., along with their counterparts from Australia and Japan.

“Secretary Pompeo and Minister Jaishankar reiterated the strength of the United States-India relationship to advance peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe. Both leaders agreed to continue close cooperation on a full range of regional and international issues and look forward to Quadrilateral consultations and the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year,” Mr Brown said.

The Quad met for the first time at the foreign minister level last year in New York, along the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly session.

On Friday, Mr Jaishankar tweeted that he had had a “Useful meeting” with his counterparts Mr Pompeo as well as Foreign Minsters Marise Payne of Australia, Kang Kyung-wha of South Korea, Gabi Ashkenazi of Israel, Ernesto Araújo of Brazil, where they discussed the coronavirus challenge.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 2:42:32 AM |

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