NEW DELHI – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in India on Monday, the first leg of a five-day Asian trip aimed at strengthening strategic ties in the face of growing Chinese influence across the region.
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Pompeo was met at New Delhi airport by U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Juster, according to a pool report.
Pompeo is due to meet India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Monday evening, before he and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper hold a joint summit with Jaishankar and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.
Later that day, Pompeo and Esper will call on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a draft itinerary of the trip released by India’s foreign ministry.
The trip is part of the latest U.S. effort to bolster allies against an increasingly assertive China, which has been making political and military inroads across Asia, analysts say.
Pompeo is due to travel to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, two Indian Ocean countries where China has financed and built various infrastructure, to the alarm of India and the United States.
India is locked in a military standoff with China on their contested Himalayan border.
Pompeo will end his trip, which comes in the final week before the U.S. presidential election, in Indonesia, one of several Southeast Asian countries wary of growing Chinese activities in the disputed South China Sea.
October 26, 2020
Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Robert Birsel
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