Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, has vowed to work closely with India to counter an increasingly aggressive China, as Washington and New Delhi agreed to deepen their defence ties.
The agreement comes as Indian and Chinese troops enter the sixth month of a military stand-off along their disputed Himalayan border — a confrontation that has prompted New Delhi to re-evaluate its security strategy and its economic ties with its neighbour.
On a trip to New Delhi with Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, Mr Pompeo stressed the importance of closer co-operation against “the Chinese Communist party’s threats to security and freedom”. Mr Pompeo also paid homage to 20 Indian soldiers killed in a border brawl with Chinese troops in June.
“The United States will stand with the people of India as they confront threats to their sovereignty and to their liberty,” he told reporters, shortly before meeting Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister.