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‘U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to discuss freedom of navigation with PM Modi’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

The two leaders will meet in Singapore next week

United States Vice President Mike Pence is expected to discuss freedom of navigation and overflight with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two meet in Singapore next week. Mr. Pence is traveling to Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Papua New Guinea for meetings, including the U.S-ASEAN summit and the East Asia Summit in Singapore and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Papua New Guinea.

“They’ll also be talking about their common vision for maintaining what we refer to as a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’. Prime Minister Modi has talked about his ‘Act East’ policy and there’s enormous convergence in these two approaches,” the official said in response to a question from The Hindu during the briefing.

“In some respects, they’re different names for a common approach and talking about some of those common principles that we share, seek to promote and sustain including freedom of navigation and overflight, sustainable development for the region, the importance of ASEAN and the role they play as well as of major democracies in the region that we have very good relations in common with, like Japan…”, the official said.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Pence are, as per the official, going to discuss defence cooperation and the Indo-Pacific.

“I can’t really say they’ll get into trade specifically at this time,” the official said when asked by The Hindu if they will discuss a trade deal.

The a question about third country interference in the unfolding political drama in Sri Lanka, where President Maithripala Sirisena had dissolved Parliament on Friday, the official said the US was following the situation “very closely”.

“Of course we’re quite troubled by the dynamic that predated the current political situation in which you had a significant increase in debt that was taken on by a previous government there in the name of development assistance. The commercial viability of many of those projects appears to be questionable, certainly given the price to the country’s finances,” the official said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 10:17:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-vice-president-mike-pence-to-discuss-freedom-of-navigation-with-pm-modi/article25460702.ece

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