New York, Jan 28 : Indian National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan discussed continuing close co-operation in the Indo-Pacific region and promoting regional security, according to the White House.
During their phone conversation on Wednesday, Sullivan “reaffirmed President (Joe) Biden’s commitment to a strong and enduring US-India strategic partnership based on our shared commitment to democracy”, the White House said in a statement.
“Renewing efforts to collaborate on global challenges, including Covid-19 and climate change” also figured in their talks, it said.
Climate change figuring in their discussion shows the elevation of climate change to a matter of national security involving intelligence agencies by Biden.
Biden’s Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, said that under the President’s executive order on climate change issued on Wednesday “our 17 intelligence agencies are going to come together and assess exactly what the danger and damage and potential risks are”.
Former President Donald Trump had raised the strategic importance of India to the US in dealing with the aggressive rise of China in the region and redesignated the military’s Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command to reflect the broader ambit and made that nomenclature a key element in strategic discussions.
Sullivan mentioning cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in talks with Doval and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also referring to it and the cooperation with the Quad, which is the roup of India, the US, Japan and Australia, in his talk with Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne appears to affirm Biden’s commitment to at least the outlines of the regional strategy.
A trusted Biden aide, Sullivan had been his NSA when he was Vice President and, on his election, brought him along to the White House in a similar capacity.