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United States to spend 300million US dollars on Indo-Pacific Maritime Security

United 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. 

The 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 failure.

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 transnational crime.

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.

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