Esper on Tuesday informed a Washington viewers that he and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can be travelling to New Delhi subsequent week for the two+2 Ministerial with their respective Indian counterparts Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister
The precise dates of the ministerial haven’t been formally introduced but.
“Secretary Pompeo and I will be there next week. It’s our second 2+2 with the Indians, the third ever for the United States and India. And it’s very important. India will well be the most consequential partner for us, I think, in the Indo Pacific for sure in this century,” Esper mentioned in response to a query throughout a webinar organized by The Atlantic Council think-tank.
To one other question, he mentioned, “India is the world’s largest democracy, a very capable country, very talented people. And they face of every day with the Chinese aggression in the Himalayas specifically along that Line of Actual Control.”
“So, like so many other countries in that region, I’ve spoken with them (Indians). I’ve travelled from Mongolia all the way down south to New Zealand and Australia, from as far as Thailand to Palau in the Pacific island countries. They’ll recognize what China is doing,” he mentioned, including that in some instances, it’s extremely overt, and in lots of extra instances it’s extremely opaque, what they’re doing.
“But they are putting political pressure, diplomatic pressure, and in some cases like India, military pressure on countries to bend to their way. We just can’t put up with that. We need all countries to follow those international rules-based order, to follow the norms that have served us so well,” Esper mentioned.
The problem shouldn’t be about China’s rise, it is all about how they rise, mentioned the Defense Secretary.
“That’s what we talk about in all these forums. Last week we had a Five Eyes Forum, right, the US, New Zealand, UK, Canada, and UK. Anyways, we have the Five Eyes Forum and we talked about the challenges in the Indo-Pacific and how do we cooperate together, how do we confront these challenges to sovereignty, to the international rules-based order, to freedom of navigation,” he mentioned.
The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographic area, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, together with the South China Sea. China claims almost all the South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam declare components of it.
“So, you see a lot more closer collaboration come out, and this will be reflected in our meetings next week in New Delhi as well when we travel there,” Esper mentioned, including that there are a variety of issues that the US has been discussing with the Indians for a while.
“We’ve made good progress on a number of them, but we’ll release information on that when it’s appropriate,” Esper mentioned.
Formed in 2018, the two+2 Ministerial Dialogue conferences replicate the 2 nation’s ever growing convergence on the strategic points.
“Last year, we conducted our first ever tri-service military exercise, Tiger Triumph, with India. And in July, the USS Nimitz conducted a combined exercise with the Indian Navy as it transited the Indian Ocean. We also held our first-ever US-India defense cyber dialogue in September as we expand our collaboration into new domains. Together, these efforts will strengthen what may become one of the most consequential partnerships of the 21st century,” Esper mentioned.