'Indo-Pacific Strategy aims to help countries defend their sovereignty'

Published On: December 7, 2019 08:17 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 7: Stating that the vision of the Indo-Pacific strategy is clear and a compelling one, visiting US Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver has said that they welcome any chance to clarify any confusions that may exist about this strategy.

Talking to a group of journalists in Kathmandu on Friday, Assistant Secretary Schriver said the Indo-Pacific Strategy does not seek to exclude any country and that it is just a new tool the US unveiled to implement its policy to promote a free, open, transparent and rule-based international order. He also clarified that the military component of the strategy is aimed at helping countries to safeguard their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Schriver said the vision behind the Indo-Pacific Strategy is to ensure a free and open Asia Pacific region that is characterized by fundamental principles of upholding a rule-based international order. “Our vision [of Indo-Pacific Strategy] is a clear and compelling one. We welcome the chance to have discussions and share our point of view; engage in dialogue about what these principles are and why these values are near universal and why countries should partner with us,” he said.

While stating that the objective of the defense component of the Indo-Pacific Strategy is to help countries to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity, Schriver said the overall vision of this is to help Nepal to become strong, sovereign and prosperous. "… nothing more than that,” he further said.

Schriver, who arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday on a two-day visit to Nepal, also said that the US and Nepal are currently in negotiation to make Nepal a part of its State Partner Program (SPP). He held separate meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, Chief of Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa, and Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, among others, on Thursday. The meetings dwelt on various aspects of military cooperation between the two countries.

On Friday, Schriver  visited Birendra Peace Operation Training Center (BPOTC) at Panchkhal, where he inaugurated the International Accommodation Block (Lumbini Block) built with US assistance.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Schriver said the newly-built Lumbini Block is a testament to the United States' deep appreciation and respect for Nepal's contribution to global peacekeeping efforts.“Nepal's peacekeeping forces have served with distinction alongside U.S. forces in Haiti, Iraq and Syria,” he said, while lauding Nepal for deploying its forces without caveat to some of the toughest missions throughout the globe.

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