Jaishankar, Pompeo review COVID-19 efforts, affirm Indo-Pacific cooperation

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BY ARUL LOUIS
New York, Oct 6 (IANS)
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday reviewed efforts by the two countries to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while stressing on the need to work together to advance security in the Indo-Pacific region, according to State Department Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown.
Meeting on the sidelines of the India-US-Japan-Australia Quadrilateral Consultations in Tokyo, “They reaffirmed the strength of the United States-India relationship, reviewed our efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and asserted the need to work together to advance peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe,” Brown said in a statement.
They discussed bilateral and multilateral cooperation on topics of international concern at the meeting, he said.
Jaishankar tweeted, “Began my Tokyo visit with a bilateral meeting with @SecPompeo. Pleased to see the progress of our partnership in so many fields. Will work together for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.”
Pompeo said that they were combatting the coronavirus pandemic together.
He tweeted, “Productive meeting today with Indian Minister of External Affairs @DrSJaishankar. Together we are advancing U.S.-India relations, combatting COVID-19, and ensuring a secure and prosperous #IndoPacific for all.”
There was no mention in Brown’s statement of China and the border confrontation in Ladakh but speaking at the opening of the Quad ministerial meeting, Pompeo mentioned the Chinese Communist Party’s “coercion” in the Himalayas.
Pompeo said, “As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion. We’ve seen it in the south, in the East China Sea, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Straits.”
When “India assumes membership of the UN Security Council next year,” he said, “we look forward to seeking collective solutions to global challenges, including global recovery from the pandemic and reform of multilateral institutions.”
Along with Jaishankar and Pompeo, Foreign Ministers Toshimitsu Motegi of Japan and Marise Payne of Australia attended the Quad consultations.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

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