States will provide nearly 300 million US Dollars in security assistance to
improve security relationships across the Indo-Pacific region, including Sri
Lanka, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo announced at the ASEAN Regional Forum
held at Singapore on August fourth. The assistance is to contain the presence
of Chinese naval presence in the region.
US secretary of state also had a meeting with Chinese foreign minister on the
sidelines of the Forum meeting. The outcome of the meeting was not disclosed by
both the countries. China however hardened its stand on trade war issues with
US after this high level meeting implying that the discussions ended in a
The security assistance funding will cover
projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Pacific Islands, the
Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and others, in the areas of Maritime Security,
Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) Assistance, Peacekeeping
Operations and Countering Transnational Crime.
For more than seven decades, U.S. engagement has
advanced freedom, openness, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The
President’s National Security Strategy identified advancing a free and open
Indo-Pacific among our most important priorities. The United States aims to
ensure the freedom of the seas and skies, promote market economics, support
good governance, and insulate sovereign nations from external coercion, while
enabling partners to protect and advance the rules-based order," a press
release by the U.S. Department of State read.
This includes $290.5 million in Foreign Military
Financing (FMF) to strengthen maritime security, humanitarian
assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR), and peacekeeping capabilities, and $8.5
million in International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE) funds to counter
Under the Bay of Bengal Initiative, a part of the
strategy, the United States will ‘work with other partners in the Bay of
Bengal, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to enhance the capacity of civilian
and military maritime actors in the Indian Ocean Region to improve the target
areas of detection, information-sharing, and response to emerging threats.’ The
US already shares commercial shipping information with India.
The United States will also support regional
efforts in South and Southeast Asia to counter transnational crime by
strengthening border security to counter illicit trafficking of people,
narcotics and goods; expanding security sector and law enforcement cooperation
with emerging democracies; promoting safe and efficient commerce; and
strengthening the rule of law to counter corruption.