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Jaishankar, Pompeo discuss security in Indo-Pacific region, Covid-19 over phone


New Delhi, Aug 07: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his American counterpart Mike Pompeo have spoken over phone and discussed the bilateral and multilateral cooperation on issues of international concern, including efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the Indo-Pacific region, a senior US official has said.

S Jaishankar and Mike Pompeo

The two leaders reiterated the strength of the India-US relationship to advance peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe, Cale Brown, Principal Deputy Spokesperson of the State Department said on Thursday.

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    India and the US have explored ways to boost cooperation in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to spread its influence. The issue was discussed extensively during the third round of the India-US Maritime Security Dialogue which took place in Goa in 2018.

    The US has been pushing for a broader role by India in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region. India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military maneuvering in the region.

    "Both leaders agreed to continue close cooperation on a full range of regional and international issues and look forward to Quadrilateral consultations and the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year," Brown said.

    In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan had given shape to the long-pending Quadrilateral coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of Chinese influence.

    The first 2+2 dialogue was held in New Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

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    During the call, Jaishankar and Pompeo discussed the 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 destabilising actions in the region, Brown said in a readout of the telephonic conversation.

    The two leaders have been in regular communication during the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 7 lakh lives and infected nearly 19 million people worldwide.

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