Meeting against the backdrop of Chinas confrontation with India in Ladakh region, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale on Tuesday discussed the “ongoing threats to the rules-based international order” and agreed to “endeavour to support each others objectives,” the State Department said.
The two diplomats, who held the US-India Foreign Office Consultations virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, agreed to work to strengthen the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, the department said.
“The discussions included ongoing threats to the rules-based international order, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic cooperation, maritime security, and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
Hale and Shringla “agreed to consult closely on all challenges and endeavour to support each other’s objectives,” according to the department.
“They discussed US-India cooperation on a full range of international issues and developed concrete steps to strengthen the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership established by their leaders,” the department said.
The partnership was laid out in a joint statement issued when US President Donald Trump visited India in February and met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It called for greater defence and security cooperation, expanded joint military exercises and co-development and co-production of advanced defence equipment.
On a strategic matter of importance to the two countries in the light of the multi-pronged aggressive actions by China, the State Department said that Shringla and Hale “affirmed the US and Indian visions of a free and open Indo-Pacific region” and “agreed to work with other Indo-Pacific partners to bring these visions to reality”.
The main partners are Japan and Australia, which together with India and the US form the Quad that promotes joint consultations and joint military exercises.
Turning to the coronavirus pandemic that is roiling the world, Shringla and Hale stressed on the cooperation between the two countries in pharmaceutical and vaccine development, which they said “will continue to play a critical role in the world’s recovery from Covid-19”.
TikTok to quit HK
Chinese short-video making app TikTok has said it will quit Hong Kong after China imposed a new national security law.
TikTok’s decision to stop operations in Hong Kong of its popular video app looks unusual but is strategic, reports BBC.
“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.
The short-form video app was launched by China-based ByteDance for users outside mainland China.
It operates a similar short video sharing app in China called Douyin.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Twitter and Telegram have said they will not process official requests from the Hong Kong authorities to hand over user data for the time being, in the wake of China imposing a controversial new National Security Law in Hong Kong.
TikTok, now banned in India along with 58 Chinese apps, has lately struggled to “fight off suspicions that it operates under Chinese law, or under the control of Beijing”.
The national security law, which Beijing put into effect and made public last week on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule, criminalises a wide range of behaviour and acts under four categories of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign power.
Also Read – China Warns UK Over HK ‘Intervention’