US looking for partnership not dominance in Indo-Pacific: Pompeo

WHAT’S IN THE NEWS?

The U.S. is looking at partnership and not dominance in the Indo-Pacific region, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday as he unveiled a series of developmental initiatives, which many experts believe is to counter the ‘One Belt One Road’ policy of China in the region.

Pompeo, however, denied that the Trump administration’s developmental initiatives were aimed at countering China.

“We’re convinced that the American engagement in the Indo-Pacific benefits all the nations in that region. We want it to be free, we want it to be open. We’re not looking for dominance. We’re looking for partnerships,” Pompeo told CNBC in an interview.

Responding to a question on countries that have been part of the ‘One Belt One Road’ projects, Pompeo said some of the countries engaged in such projects find themselves in a place they are not happy about. “I think the others are beginning to see that as well,” he said. PTI

What is the ‘One Belt One Road’ project about?

Initiated by the Xi government in 2013, the ‘‘One Belt One Road’’ initiative aims at improving connectivity among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe. The Chinese claim that this project would be the ”21st century silk road”.

The project lays emphasis on improving land and maritime routes. A “belt” of overland corridors and a maritime ”road” of shipping lanes will make up this Belt and Road which will totally cover 71 countries and this accounts for over half of the world’s population.

The cost estimate of the initiative comes to about $1tn, and this is one of the biggest projects to have ever been undertaken by China.

However, when it was launched, India issued a comprehensive statement on why it objected to the project. The statement mentioned that this project could push smaller countries on the road into a crushing debt cycle, destroy the ecology and disrupt local communities. The MEA stated that China’s agenda was unclear, and the implied accusation was that this was more about enhancing China’s political influence and not just its physical networks.

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