U.S. and India’s complementary visions for Indo-Pacific

U.S. and Indian flags (© Shutterstock)
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The United States and India share common values that are crucial to the success of the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan emphasized during his trip to India.

“Our commitment to democracy, the rule of law, the freedoms of religion and expression” are basic values that the two countries hold dear, Sullivan said at the India-U.S. Forum in New Delhi on August 16.

During his four-day trip to India, the deputy secretary also met with Minister for External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and traveled to Agra, Uttar Pradesh, to visit the iconic Taj Mahal.

The deputy secretary’s visit coincided with the 72nd anniversary of India’s Independence Day.

“The United States and India are great democracies, global powers, and good friends,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an August 14 statement. “We now cooperate on a range of important issues, from defense and counterterrorism, to freedom of navigation and cutting-edge science, including in space.”

At the India-U.S. Forum, Sullivan cast doubt on the actual intentions of China’s recent development efforts. “Despite its claims of mutual benefit, China’s policies and actions seek to rewire the Indo-Pacific to advance its own interests,” the deputy secretary said.

Sullivan stressed that “the vitality of the U.S.-India partnership is such an important factor in determining whether China ultimately succeeds in reshaping Asia to its purposes.”

The deputy secretary said the U.S. supports India’s efforts to take on meaningful reforms designed to increase infrastructure development and liberalize trade.

Sullivan reiterated that the U.S. approach relies on the private sector. He pointed to the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, a new agency launching later this year that will help U.S. businesses invest in emerging markets around the world, helping countries avoid the risk of becoming ensnared in unsustainable debt. Sullivan will work alongside Secretary Pompeo to chair the board of the DFC.