US Deputy Secretary Of State Richard Verma To Visit India, Maldives


US Deputy Secretary Of State Richard Verma To Visit India, Maldives

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma to visit India, Maldives, Sri Lanka from Feb 18-23


Senior American diplomat Richard Verma will embark on a six-day official visit to India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives next week to strengthen the US’ bilateral ties with the key Indo-Pacific partners and reaffirm its enduring commitment to a free, open, secure, and prosperous region.

Mr Verma, the US’ Indian-American Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, the second senior post in the State Department, will travel to the three countries from February 18-23.

“Shortly following the two-year anniversary of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, his trip will reaffirm the United States’ enduring commitment to a free, open, secure, and prosperous region,” a media release said on Friday.

The visit will strengthen the United States’ cooperation with each of these key Indo-Pacific partners.

In New Delhi, Mr Verma will meet with senior government officials, business leaders, and entrepreneurs to advance the US-Indian global strategic partnership on a full range of issues, including economic development, security, and technology, said the official statement.

Under the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy, launched on February 11, 2022, the United States Department of Commerce has worked collaboratively with allies and partners to build an Indo-Pacific region that is free and open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient.

The US, India and several other world powers have been discussing the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the resource-rich region.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.

From India, Mr Verma will travel to Male to meet with senior officials and advance shared priorities in increasing economic cooperation and promoting maritime security.

He will also tour the planned office space for a new US Embassy in Male, which will help further increase people-to-people ties between the United States and Maldives.

Mr Verma will conclude his trip in Colombo.

His meetings with senior officials will support US-Sri Lankan defence and maritime security cooperation.

He will visit the Port of Colombo’s West Container Terminal, where the United States is supporting Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic recovery through USD 553 million in financing to transform Colombo into a regional shipping hub.

Finally, he will meet with civil society leaders to hear their perspective on democratic governance in Sri Lanka and with government officials to voice US support for the protection of free speech and open discourse, a statement said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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