US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo boards a flight for the trip to India.

Washington:

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Sunday boarded the flight for the trip to India for the third edition of the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue, that begins in New Delhi. The visit comes a week before the American presidential election scheduled on November 3.

The US official will be travelling along with Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper from October 25 to 29. Mr Pompeo will also visit Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia to engage the countries in discussions on how free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Mr Pompeo, on Twitter, said: “Wheels up for my trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with our partners to promote a shared vision for a free and open IndoPacific composed of independent, strong, and prosperous nations.”

This will be the third India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. They will be meeting Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on October 27 and will also have bilateral meetings with their counterparts.

They will also be meeting NSA Ajit Doval and will jointly call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The India-US 2+2 talks will focus on four themes — regional security cooperation, defense information sharing, military-to-military interactions, and defense trade, said the US State Department on Friday. The first two 2+2 Ministerial dialogues had been held in New Delhi in September 2018 and Washington DC in 2019.

Mr Pompeo will be also asking the Sri Lankan officials to make decisions about its relationship with China and to review the option that the United States offers for transparent and sustainable economic development, according to an earlier statement by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dean Thompson.

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