US to expand Indo-Pacific economic engagement

By Agency Published on Jul 30, 2018 02:26 PM IST

Washington/New Delhi: The US today said it will be announcing several new initiatives in the areas of digital economy, energy and infrastructure for the Indo-Pacific region which includes countries like India, Indonesia and Australia.

Addressing reporters through teleconference to preview Indo-Pacific Business Forum from Washington, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook said that the secretary would be announcing several new initiatives to expand economic engagement in this region.

When asked about specifics related to India, he said, "I cannot disclose the funding numbers. We are very excited that the Secretary will be announcing a number of new initiatives and they will have benefit for India."

President Donald Trump has lined up his top Cabinet members Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Energy Secretary Rick Perry- at US Chambers of Commerce which is hosting the first Indo-Pacific Business Forum meeting in Washington today.

The forum will introduce the economic and commercial elements of the US' whole-of-government Indo-Pacific strategy and will include participation from senior administration officials, the private sector and officials representing Indo-Pacific nations.

The move comes nine months after the Trump administration openly spoke against the 'predatory economic policies of an Asian giant' that threatens to eat into the sovereignty of countries in Indo-Pacific, which has now emerged as a critical engine for growth.

Hook said that the secretary's announcements would be an economic pillar for America's Indo-Pacific strategy.

He said it was first announced last year and the Secretary's core message is that free and open Indo-Pacific ties are good for the region, for America and business.

"The secretary will announce new US government initiatives and new fundings, primarily focused on digital economy, energy and infrastructure. These sectors are the foundation of Indo-Pacific economic future, which will accelerate US private sector investment in the region," he added.

India is a key partner to ensure that the entire region has peace, stability and growing prosperity, he said.