Secretary Pompeo unveils US Indo-Pacific strategy- an alternative to OBOR

New Delhi/Washington:The Trump administration will help Indo-Pacific countries develop their digital economy, infrastructure and energy sectors as it seeks to reassure its commitment to the region and likes to see it as a strategic alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

At a forum being attended by participants from India, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Indonesia in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would overnight unveil the United States’ “economic vision” for the region that aims to facilitate private sector partnerships to unleash the full potential of the Indo-Pacific region.

“Looking forward to speaking at the @USChamber #IndoPacificBizForum on “America’s Indo-Pacific Economic Vision,” Pompeo said in a tweet ahead of the meeting and on the eve of his visit to southeast Asia.

Pompeo would be joined by Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Perry at the Forum, along with American chief executives.

Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India, will represent the Indian government.

The Indo-Pacific has emerged as a critical engine for growth, with Asian economies projected to create 50 per cent of global GDP in the coming decades. To realise that potential, the countries of the Indo-Pacific will need to attract nearly $26 trillion in capital to fund their energy and infrastructure needs. The US will be a critical player in both investing the capital, and building the technology and infrastructure that the region requires, said the US Chamber of Commerce.

The Indo-Pacific also represents one of the most important and fastest-growing markets for US goods and services.

Brian Hook, a senior policy adviser to Pompeo, said the US had a vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” and wanted to help the region modernise.

“We want to create local wealth, we want to create local economic growth and then we do that by bringing private sector money off the sidelines and into markets,” Hook said in a briefing to reporters from the region.

The US move coincides with the Trump administration’s trade friction with China and the militarisation of the South China Sea by Beijing.

Hook, however, denied that the US strategy was aimed at countering China Belt and Road Initiative.

“The Belt and Road is for the moment China’s way of doing things. It is a made in China, made for China initiative. Our way of doing things is to keep government’s role very modest and it’s focused on helping businesses to do what they do best.”

“We welcome contributions by China to regional development. We just want them to adhere to high standards and to uphold areas such as transparency, rule of law and sustainable financing,” he said.

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