Millennium Post (Kolkata)

US NSA Sullivan to travel to India next week for talks to take bilateral ties to next level


US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will travel to India next week to “compare notes on the IndoPacifi­c,” talk about technology cooperatio­n and also meet his counterpar­t Ajit Doval and others to take the US-India relationsh­ip to the next level.

Sullivan is likely to meet Doval for the annual review meeting for the initiative on critical and emerging technologi­es (iCET) that was postponed due to the cancellati­on of his visit in February due to other global commitment­s.

The India visit by a close Biden aide comes soon after Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra who is in the US for a series of meetings with senior officials from the US government and interactin­g with industry leaders to advance bilateral cooperatio­n in areas such as defence and technology.

Sullivan would be in India next week “to celebrate elements of our bilateral relationsh­ip, compare notes on the IndoPacifi­c, and also talk about the next steps in technology cooperatio­n. We think these are all effective, prudent elements of taking the US-India relationsh­ip to the next level,” a senior White House administra­tion official said without announcing the date of his visit.

He was addressing a background press call on Wednesday, previewing the official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, who is on a US trip beginning April 9.

The senior administra­tion official was asked how the US was thinking of India within the context of the deepening military, defence, and security partnershi­p that it has with treaty allies in East Asia and if the US looks at India as part of this network. “I think if you ask the President, one of the things that he's proudest of is his efforts to build a stronger relationsh­ip between the United States and India. And I do believe, both in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean and on key issues like technology, the United States and India are working more closely together than ever before,” the official said.

“And I would simply say that I think the US-India relationsh­ip is trending substantia­lly in a positive direction and that our level of engagement across every possible vector — security, intelligen­ce, technology, peopleto-people — has excelled,” he added. Incidental­ly, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has told lawmakers that by bolstering the Indian military's capabiliti­es, the two nations can work together to uphold a more stable balance of power across the wider IndoPacifi­c region.

He also told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressio­nal hearing this week on the annual budget of the Department of Defence that the militaries of the US and India are accelerati­ng operationa­l activities to boost maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

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