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7th India–US forum begins in New Delhi

01:32 AM Jan 28, 2024 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
7th india–us forum begins in new delhi
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New Delhi, Jan 27: US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu, and his delegation are on an official diplomatic mission to India and the Maldives. In New Delhi the US team is participating in the 7th India – US Forum that commenced here on Saturday.

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The US officials on Saturday met Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs at the forum. Dr Jaishankar in his message on “X” former tweet said, “pleased to speak at the 7th India -US Forum in New Delhi today. The deliberations of the Forum reflect the trust and openness which characterises our ties now. Thanks to @AntaraAspen Centre for their efforts at putting it together."

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Dr S Jaishankar spoke in the first session of India-US Forum 2024 where Dr Mchael Green, Executive Officer United States Studies Centre, moderated discussions. The opening remarks at the forum were given by Foreign Secretary Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwarta.

Ambassador Donald Lu is accompanying Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, and a delegation of US government top officials.

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During their stay in New Delhi, the delegation plans to engage with various stakeholders, including government officials, private sector members, academia, and the media. The discussions aim to explore and strengthen partnership opportunities between the United States and India.

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US Delegation Visit to Maldives

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Following their engagements in India, the delegation is set to visit the Maldives, where they will hold meetings with senior Maldivian officials. This marks a significant diplomatic event, being the first top-level US official meeting since President Mohamad Muizze assumed office. Recent developments in the region have witnessed some tension between India and the Maldives, coupled with a growing alliance with China, evident by the presence of a Chinese spy ship in Maldivian waters and President Muizzu's return from an official visit to China.

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The timing of the visit is also noteworthy as the Maldives gears up for its parliamentary elections in March 2024. The United States, just days before the presidential elections in the Maldives, inaugurated its first-ever embassy in the country and appointed Hugo Hue-Ho Yon as the inaugural US Resident Ambassador.

According to the US State Department, the primary focus of the visit is to strengthen cooperation between the US and the Maldives and advance the establishment of a permanent US embassy in Male.

Diplomatic relations between the Maldives and the United States were established in 1965, and despite a brief closure of the Maldivian embassy in Washington DC in 2008, relations were reaffirmed with its reopening in June 2023.

The opening of the US embassy holds geopolitical significance in the Indian Ocean, where India and China have already established their presence. With the QUAD alliance in the Indo-Pacific and China expanding its influence in the region through initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative, the US presence in the Maldives is poised to raise concerns in Beijing.

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