Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Independence Day

27 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the government and people of the United States of America, I congratulate the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the 41st anniversary of your independence.

The United States is committed to helping make the Caribbean safer and more prosperous while upholding democratic values and human rights.  The U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership strengthens our preparedness for hurricanes and other natural disasters.  Through the USAID Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Early Learners Program, more than 7,000 young Vincentian students have learned valuable skills.  Our joint law enforcement efforts have intercepted drug traffickers and disrupted their operations, and we have worked together to combat COVID-19 for the health and well-being of our citizens.

The United States values the relationship between our two countries, and we wish a happy Independence Day to all Vincentians.

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Introducing BridgeUSA: A New Brand Identity for the Exchange Visitor Program

27 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is pleased to announce BridgeUSA as the new brand identity for the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP), including a new logo, tagline, and mission-driven language.

The new BridgeUSA branding is the culmination of a multi-year endeavor to re-imagine the private sector component of the EVP. The goal of the rebrand is to create a professional brand for the private sector component of the EVP to more effectively communicate our mission, program values, and global impact to stakeholders and audiences.

Since its establishment as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (The Fulbright-Hays Act), the EVP has served as a valuable and important diplomatic tool of U.S. foreign policy. Its mission – to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries – remains vital to U.S. national security and building people-to-people connections around the world.

BridgeUSA unifies ECA administered, private sector programs under one umbrella and brings the mission and global impact of our programs front and center in the name and creative tagline. The BridgeUSA moniker embodies ECA’s mission to build enduring bridges of friendship between people and nations. The tagline “Connecting global leaders, creating lasting impact” underscores the global impact of the program: cultivating a network of leaders that create lasting impact in their communities and our world.

BridgeUSA includes the following exchange programs: Professor, Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Trainee, Intern, College and University Student, Teacher, Secondary School Student, Specialist, Alien Physician, Camp Counselor, Au Pair, and Summer Work Travel.

Visit the BridgeUSA website at bridgeusa.state.gov to view the brand changes. To learn more about the new brand identity, view the This is BridgeUSA video at https://youtu.be/yPOSOV4glBk. For media queries, contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at ECA-Press@state.gov.

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Memorandum of Understanding on Anti-Semitism

27 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

On October 22, 2020, Dr. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and Elan S. Carr, the U.S. Department of State Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism, signed a memorandum of understanding on anti-Semitism in Washington, D.C.  The document outlines goals to eradicate anti-Semitism and promote respect and peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jewish people through education and programs.

“This Memorandum of Understanding executed between my Office and the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence is groundbreaking in that it is the first time in history we are seeing Arab partners formally join the United States in combatting anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel; and employing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism,” said Special Envoy Carr. “This partnership will build a future of tolerance, harmony, and peace for generations to come.”

The agreement illustrates warming ties between Bahrain and Israel following the Abraham Accords Declaration and also advances historical ties between Jewish and Arab people in Bahrain.

“The Kingdom of Bahrain has been home to a proud Jewish community since the 1880s,” said Ellie Cohanim, U.S. Assistant Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. “This Memorandum of Understanding further emphasizes the Kingdom’s model for combating hatred and anti-Semitism; and a model for a society that actively espouses religious freedom, tolerance and diversity of peoples.”

The following is the text of a Memorandum of Understanding between the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and the Office of the United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, signed October 22, 2020.

Begin text:

WHEREAS Arabs and Jews are both Semitic peoples that are threatened by hatred or intolerance toward Semitic peoples;

WHEREAS all peoples of the Middle East should aspire to coexist in tolerance and mutual respect;

WHEREAS the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has adopted a widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism that incorporates examples of its various manifestations;

WHEREAS anti-Semitism is a vile poison that must be eradicated from the world;

WHEREAS purveyors of anti-Semitism in the Middle East seek to spread this evil as a political tool to manipulate the Arab and Muslim world;

WHEREAS His Majesty King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa has made it a top priority for Bahrain to lead the Middle East toward a future of tolerance, mutual respect, and cooperation between Muslims and Jews; and

WHEREAS President Donald J. Trump and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo have made it a top priority for the United States to combat all forms of anti-Semitism in all parts of the world;

THEREFORE, the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence (the King Hamad Centre) and the Office of the United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (SEAS), hereinafter the Participants, hereby set forth the following understandings:

(1) The King Hamad Centre and SEAS intend to work together to develop and implement programs to promote mutual respect, appreciation, and peaceful coexistence between the Arab and Jewish peoples and their respective nation-states, and between all faiths in the Middle East; The spirit of this cooperation is intended to be guided by the principles of the Kingdom of Bahrain Declaration of July 3, 2017;

(2) The King Hamad Centre and SEAS intend to work together to develop and implement programs to recognize and celebrate the periods of good will and harmony that existed between Jews and Arabs living side-by-side throughout the Middle East;

(3) The King Hamad Centre and SEAS intend to cooperate in developing educational programs aimed at teaching all children of the Middle East the values of mutual respect, appreciation, and peaceful coexistence; such programs are intended to build upon the King Hamad Faith in Leadership Fellows Programme, the King Hamad Cyber Peace Academy, and other related programs;

(4) The King Hamad Centre and SEAS intend to work together to share and promote best practices for combating all forms of anti-Semitism, including anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel;

(5) The King Hamad Centre and SEAS intend to work together to share and promote best practices for combating other kinds of intolerance and hatred;

(6) The King Hamad Centre and SEAS each intends to bear its own costs for any cooperation and activities taken in furtherance of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU);

(7) The King Hamad Centre and SEAS intend to develop the activities and areas of cooperation under this MOU through a periodic work plan and intend to develop the first work plan within six months of signature of this MOU;

(8) As used herein, the term “anti-Semitism” is defined by reference to and in accordance with the Working Definition of Antisemitism as adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in its Bucharest plenary on May 26, 2016, including the examples set forth as part of the definition;

(9) Cooperation under this MOU is intended to commence upon signature and is intended to be operative for three years, subject to written renewal for a similar period.  Either the King Hamad Centre or SEAS may unilaterally discontinue this MOU at any time, with written notice given to the other Participant.

SIGNED at Washington, DC, this 22nd day of October, 2020, in duplicate in the English language.

FOR THE KING HAMAD GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE:

Dr. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa

Chairman of the Board of Trustees

FOR THE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES SPECIAL ENVOY TO MONITOR AND COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM:

Elan S. Carr

Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism

End text.

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Secretary Pompeo’s Calls with Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Aliyev

27 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:‎

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev separately. Secretary Pompeo pressed the leaders to abide by their commitments to cease hostilities and pursue a diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and noted that there is no military solution to this conflict.  The Secretary stressed the importance of fully implementing the ceasefire agreed in Moscow on October 10 and reaffirmed in the statement issued from Paris on October 17, in accordance with the October 1, 2020 joint statement of United States President Donald J. Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Special Representative Khalilzad Travels to Norway and Qatar

27 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad departed for Oslo on October 26.  In Norway, he discussed international coordination and support of the Afghan peace process.  In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will meet with the negotiating teams to follow up on ongoing discussions to reduce violence and press both sides to immediately stem the recent increase in violence that Afghans across the country are being forced to bear.  Too many Afghans are dying.  The sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.  Along with international partners, Ambassador Khalilzad will press the two negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts and agree to a political roadmap that ends Afghanistan’s 40-year-long war.  The sides must move past procedure and into substantive negotiations.  American and international assistance remains available to all sides.

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Highlights of 2020 U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

27 Oct

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper joined Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar for the third annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi, India.  The two nations welcomed the elevation of the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, which is vital to security and stability in the region and the world.

During the meeting, Secretary Pompeo reaffirmed the increasingly close U.S.-India relationship and the shared goals among like-minded Indo-Pacific countries for regional security and prosperity.  The two nations welcomed the second Quad meeting, held at the Foreign Minister level on October 6, and looked forward to close collaboration during India’s upcoming term on the U.N. Security Council.  Secretary Pompeo and his counterparts reaffirmed U.S.-India healthcare collaboration to develop vaccines, therapeutics, and essential medical equipment. They welcomed an initiative to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and other emerging threats.  They looked forward to an overarching Memorandum of Understanding to enhance health cooperation.  Secretary Pompeo and his counterparts also discussed increased cooperation on energy, space, sustainable financing for infrastructure development, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism, and looked forward to new collaboration in those areas.  The two sides reaffirmed the close bonds between our people and welcomed the inaugural Parliamentary exchange later this year.

The Secretary and his counterparts also discussed ways to advance the 21st century defense partnership.  They welcomed increased cooperation between the U.S. and Indian militaries by expanding information-sharing, defense trade, joint service coordination, and interoperability. They also welcomed increased bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including the upcoming MALABAR naval exercise.  Both sides welcomed the conclusion of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement to expand geospatial information sharing between our armed forces and committed to the exchange of additional liaison officers.

On behalf of the United States, Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Esper extended a warm invitation to their Indian counterparts for the next U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, to be hosted in Washington, D.C.  The leaders looked forward to another year of close cooperation between our countries to further advance the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

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Joint Statement on the Third U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

27 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and India on the occasion of the third U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.

Begin text:

India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper to New Delhi for the third annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The Ministers welcomed the elevation of the U.S.-India relationship to a Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership during the visit of President Donald J. Trump to India in February 2020. They reiterated their commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-India partnership, anchored in mutual trust and friendship, shared commitment to democracy, converging strategic interests, and robust engagement of their citizens.

While celebrating more than seven decades of diplomatic engagement between the United States and India, the Ministers intend to expand cooperation under the 2+2 framework to realize the full potential of the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

Cooperation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Ministers applauded the exemplary cooperation between the United States and India in confronting challenges emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. They reiterated their resolve to strengthen cooperation in the development of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, ventilators and other essential medical equipment. Recognizing that bilateral engagement in research and development and the mass production of vaccines and therapeutics plays to our respective strengths, the Ministers sought to jointly promote access to high quality, safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines and treatments on a global scale.  India expressed appreciation for the 200 ventilators provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Indian Red Cross Society, while the U.S. expressed appreciation for India’s export of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), essential medicines, and therapeutics to the United States during these challenging times. The Ministers looked forward to the conclusion of an overarching MoU between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, including their component agencies and departments, to enhance health cooperation, including on health emergencies and pandemics, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and biomedical research and innovation. The Ministers also looked forward to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD/NIH) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases including COVID-19 and other emerging threats. They welcomed the upcoming call for applications for clinical research fellowships for early and mid-career American and Indian scientists to help expand the cohort of physician scientists focused on research that will advance clinical practice and benefit public health in both countries. Noting the importance of health sector cooperation, they also looked forward to convening the U.S.-India Health Dialogue at an early date.

The Ministers reaffirmed efforts to enhance supply chain resilience and to seek alternatives to the current paradigm, which had come under severe strain during the pandemic and exposed critical vulnerabilities. The Ministers sought to support the global economic recovery, including in India and the United States, to emerge from the pandemic more resilient than ever.

The Ministers expressed appreciation for the repatriation of stranded U.S. and Indian nationals from both countries during the pandemic.

Shared Vision for the Indo-Pacific and Global Leadership

The Ministers reiterated their commitment to maintaining a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific built on a rules-based international order, underpinned by ASEAN centrality, rule of law, sustainable and transparent infrastructure investment, freedom of navigation and overflight, mutual respect for sovereignty, and peaceful resolution of disputes. Highlighting the importance of securing the economic and security interests of all stakeholders having a legitimate interest in the region, the Ministers welcomed the growing understanding on the Indo-Pacific among like-minded countries. They reaffirmed that closer U.S.-India cooperation will support shared interests in promoting security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. They also emphasized that the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea should not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of any nation in accordance with international law.

The Ministers welcomed the recent convening of the Second Australia-India-Japan-United States Quadrilateral Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo on October 6, 2020. They appreciated the exchange of views on regional issues of mutual interest, as well as ongoing cooperation related to maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, regional connectivity, health security and counter terrorism. The Ministers also welcomed the fact that these Consultations would now be held annually. They expressed their support for further strengthening Quad cooperation through expanded activities, including initiating a dialogue among the development organizations of partner countries.

The Ministers expressed their support for sustainable, transparent, quality infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region. They looked forward to furthering collaboration between USAID and India’s Development Partnership Administration (DPA) with a view to undertaking joint projects in the region. The Ministers welcomed the establishment of a permanent presence of the U.S. International Development Finance Cooperation (DFC) in India this year. The United States expressed strong support for the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) as a leading mechanism for promoting regional economic development. Recognizing the need to contain the build-up of sovereign debt in developing and low-income countries by ensuring responsible, transparent, and sustainable financing practices for both borrowers and creditors, the Ministers looked forward to exploring ways to cooperate under the Blue Dot Network. They also looked forward to the Second Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) to be held on October 28-29, 2020.

Building on a strong record of peacekeeping cooperation, the Ministers decided to expand joint capacity building efforts with partner countries in the Indo-Pacific and to participate in multilateral peacekeeping training exercises.

The Ministers discussed their shared interest in promoting a sovereign, peaceful, united, democratic, inclusive, stable and secure Afghanistan, including support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. They applauded India’s development assistance, and efforts to build trade linkages and multi-modal connectivity infrastructure for Afghanistan to enhance its regional connectivity to sustain growth and development over the long term.

The United States congratulated India for its non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2021-2022. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to work together in close coordination at the UNSC and in International Organizations. The U.S. also reaffirmed its continued strong support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed UNSC as well as for India’s early entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Advancing the Defense and Security Partnership

Noting the 15th anniversary of the inaugural U.S.-India Defense Framework Agreement, the Ministers commended what has become a comprehensive, resilient, and multi-faceted Major Defense Partnership (MDP) between the United States and India. They applauded the significant step of the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). They also welcomed enhanced maritime information sharing and maritime domain awareness between their Navies and affirmed their commitment to build upon existing defense information-sharing at the joint-service and service-to-service levels and explore potential new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation.

The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to deepening bilateral defense consultation and collaboration and to exploring opportunities to expand cooperative capacity-building efforts with partners across the region. They also affirmed their commitment to pursue increased cooperation between the Indian military and U.S. Central Command and Africa Command, including broader participation in exercises and conferences, so as to promote shared security interests. The U.S. appreciated India’s leadership in establishing an Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR). The Ministers welcomed the positioning of a Liaison Officer from the U.S. Navy at the IFC-IOR and the positioning of an Indian Liaison Officer at NAVCENT, Bahrain and reiterated their intent to assign additional Liaison Officers.

The Ministers expressed satisfaction at the ongoing progress in the implementation of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), including the expansion of secure communications capabilities to include secure video teleconference capabilities between their respective Navies, Armies and Air Forces as well as between respective Foreign and Defense Ministries. The Ministers welcomed the convening of the Military Cooperation Group (MCG) later this year to review bilateral military-to-military engagement including joint exercises, training and expert exchanges. They looked forward to interaction between the Special Forces of the United States and India.

The Ministers welcomed the inclusion of the Royal Australian Navy in the U.S.-India-Japan MALABAR Naval Exercise scheduled to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea in November 2020. Highlighting the importance of deepening maritime cooperation and the growing sophistication of U.S.-India naval cooperation, the Ministers welcomed the PASSEX carried out by the Navies of both countries. They also looked forward to the convening of the next edition of the Tri-Services Amphibious TIGER TRIUMPH HADR Exercise and Army Exercises YUDH ABHYAS and VAJRA PRAHAR in 2021. The U.S. welcomed India’s co-hosting of the Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC), Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) and Senior Enlisted Leader Forum (SELF) in 2023.

The Ministers decided to work together to realize the development of their respective defense industries. Acknowledging India’s contributions to the global supply chain of major defense platforms and commitment to defense innovation, the Ministers reiterated the importance of Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), and stated their intention to fast track projects under DTTI. They noted with satisfaction the signing of a Statement of Intent (SoI) at the 10th DTTI meeting to strengthen dialogue on defense technology cooperation on several specific DTTI projects as well as a DTTI Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for identification and development of joint projects. India looked forward to the participation by the U.S. Government and defense industry at the upcoming Aero-India in February 2021.

Recognizing the importance of cooperation in defense innovation, the Ministers welcomed the inaugural meeting between the Indian Defence Innovation Organization (DIO-iDEX) and U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) in July 2020. They also looked forward to the inaugural Industrial Security Annex (ISA) Summit later this year which would further strengthen defense industrial cooperation between both countries.

Strengthening Bilateral U.S.-India Cooperation

The Ministers welcomed efforts to rejuvenate and expand bilateral U.S.-India trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, they noted ongoing discussions by the Unites States Trade Representative and India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry to reach an understanding on improving market access, removing barriers to trade, and improving the business environment.

The Ministers noted with satisfaction the significant strides made under the four Pillars of the Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) covering Oil & Gas, Power and Energy Efficiency, Renewables and Sustainable Growth. They also appreciated the progress made under the U.S.-India Gas Task Force and the launch of industry-led projects. They welcomed the announcement of new priorities and roadmap for each of the Pillars during the Ministerial meeting of the SEP held on July 17, 2020. With the objective of intensifying cooperation in the area of Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRs), the Ministers welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in this regard.

Recalling the historic India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement, the Ministers welcomed the project Division of Responsibility principles between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) for the construction of six nuclear reactors at Kovvada, and looked forward to the detailed Division of Responsibility that would pave the way for a techno-commercial offer. The Ministers also welcomed the extension of the MoU between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning cooperation with India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP).The Ministers welcomed the virtual convening of the 17th meeting of the U.S.-India Counter Terrorism Joint Working Group and the 3rd Session of the U.S.-India Designations Dialogue on September 9-10, 2020. They denounced the use of terrorist proxies and strongly condemned cross border terrorism in all its forms. They emphasised the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks, including al-Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The Ministers called on Pakistan to take immediate, sustained and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks, and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators and planners of all such attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai, Uri, and Pathankot. The Ministers also committed to continued exchange of information about sanctions and designations against terror groups and individuals, particularly in light of recent legislative changes in India, as well as countering the financing and operations of terrorist organizations, countering radicalism and terrorist use of the internet, cross-border movement of terrorists, and prosecuting, rehabilitating, and reintegrating returning terrorist fighters and family members.

The Ministers intend to enhance their ongoing cooperation in multilateral fora, including the UN. They also reaffirmed their support for the early adoption of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

In view of the announcement made during President Trump’s visit to India to establish a new U.S.-India Counter-Narcotics Working Group, the Ministers welcomed the proposal to convene the first such virtual meeting later this year, with an in-person meeting in 2021, to enhance cooperation between U.S. and Indian drug and law enforcement agencies. The Ministers welcomed efforts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and India’s Ministry of Home Affairs to reinvigorate the Homeland Security Dialogue.

The Ministers welcomed the virtual convening of the U.S.-India Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group on October 1, 2020. They reaffirmed their commitment towards an open, reliable and secure internet as well as the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. They emphasized fostering cooperation between their industry and academia for an open, secure and resilient supply of strategic material and critical infrastructure and to independently evaluate the risk associated with deployment of emerging ICT technologies, including 5G networks.

The Ministers also welcomed the recent convening of the annual U.S.-India Cyber Dialogue on September 15, 2020 and the first U.S.-India Defense Cyber Dialogue on September 17, 2020.

Recalling their countries’ proud record of achievement in space science and satellite application, the Ministers applauded the ongoing collaboration between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), including on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite scheduled to be launched by 2022. The Ministers also looked forward to sharing Space Situational Awareness information, which will catalyze efforts to create the conditions for a safe, stable, and sustainable space environment. They also expressed the intent to continue the U.S.-India Space Dialogue as well as discussions on areas of potential space defense cooperation.

The Ministers welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Technical Cooperation in Earth Observation and Earth Sciences between the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences for developing a better understanding of regional and global weather origins in the Indian Ocean and advancing common research goals in meteorology, oceanography, and management of living marine resources. The Ministers welcomed the signing of an Agreement between the United States Postal Service and India’s Department of Post, which will facilitate the electronic exchange of customs data related to postal shipments. They also applauded the signing of the Letter of Intent (LoI) between the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Ministry of AYUSH.

Nurturing People–to-People Bonds

Underscoring the importance of ties between our respective legislatures, the Ministers welcomed the launch of a U.S.-India Parliamentary Exchange.

Applauding the entrepreneurial spirit of Indians and Indian-Americans that has mutually benefitted both nations, the Ministers recognized the important role of people-to-people linkages in strengthening the overall bilateral relationship and economic ties. Both sides look forward to the next iteration of the India-U.S. Consular Dialogue to further increase cooperation and discuss issues of mutual concern, including visas, and familial issues related to marriage, adoption and child custody.

The Ministers welcomed the increasing number of Indian students in the United States and acknowledged the role of expanding educational ties and fostering entrepreneurship and scientific innovation. In this context, the Ministers welcomed India’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which would pave the way for enhanced collaboration between academic institutions of both countries. The Ministers looked forward to discussions to further advance U.S.-India educational partnerships.

Appreciating the valuable contribution of the Fulbright-Nehru Program over the years in furthering exchange of outstanding academics and professionals between both countries, the Ministers celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Program this year.

The Ministers welcomed the commencement of issuance of 12-month reciprocal temporary duty visas to officials from both Governments as a step to facilitate the growing partnership.

The United States looks forward to hosting the next 2+2 Ministerial in 2021.

End text.

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Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi

27 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, jointly with Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, met today with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India.  Secretary Pompeo and Prime Minister Modi welcomed the warm and close relationship between our countries, which is rooted in our vibrant democratic traditions and fostered by strong ties between our citizens.  Secretary Pompeo and Prime Minister Modi discussed several issues of regional and global concern on which the United States and India collaborate, including COVID-19 response, security and defense cooperation, and shared interests in a free and open Indo-Pacific.  The Secretary and the Prime Minister pledged to further strengthen the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership to better ensure the security and prosperity of both countries, the Indo-Pacific region, and the world.

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Secretary Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, And Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Opening Statements at the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

27 Oct

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

NEW DELHI, INDIA

HYDERABAD HOUSE

FOREIGN MINISTER SINGH:  (Via interpreter)  Mr. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, Dr. Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, my esteemed colleague Dr. S. Jaishankar, distinguished members of the two delegations, a very warm welcome to both of the secretaries and your delegations.  Thank you for traveling all the way to New Delhi when traveling is still considered quite risky.

Thank you for your personal commitment to the India-USA partnership.  We are meeting today at an extraordinary time.  This pandemic is something that we have never experienced in our lifetime.  Our economies have suffered losses.  People have been affected by the pandemic, and a number of those have succumbed, which is a number that is far from insignificant.  We have implemented the whole-of-government approach to take industrial and service outputs back to normalcy.  We are providing relief to all those badly impacted by the pandemic.  We have to quickly make up for the losses as economic downturn will have both domestic and external consequences.

Excellencies, in the area of defense we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders – (inaudible).

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you very much.  It’s an honor to be here with you (inaudible) for the third 2+2 (inaudible) all three.  Our friendship and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific was clearly, clearly highly on display when we were in Tokyo this past week and a half for the Quad meeting that Minister Jaishankar and I had with our Australian and Japanese friends earlier this month.

Today is real opportunity for two great democracies like ours to grow closer, as I said on my trip to India last year when I called for a new age of ambition in our relationship.  I think we’ve delivered on that over this past year.  There is much more work to do for sure.

We have a lot to discuss today, from cooperating on defeating the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom, to promoting peace and stability throughout the region.

Together our two countries are building a better future for our people based on our shared set of values and our cultures, our defense ties, our scientific collaboration, and mutual prosperity.  I thank you for your leadership to each of you to build what ought to be a defining partnership of democracies in the 21st century.  Thank you.

SECRETARY ESPER:  Minister Singh, Minister Jaishankar, I am honored to be here with you alongside Secretary Pompeo for our third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.  Today we meet in the midst of public health, economic, and security challenges around the globe, which the partnership between our two nations has better prepared us to address and deter.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the first U.S.-India Defense Framework and our third 2+2 Ministerial.  We have strengthened our defense and security partnership considerably since then, especially over the past year, during which we advanced our regional security, military-to-military, and information-sharing cooperation.  Our focus now must be on institutionalizing and regularizing our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future.

Today I look forward to discussing key opportunities to expand our efforts on regional security concerns and to advance our defense priorities, to include increasing information sharing and mutual logistics operations between our militaries.

To my Indian colleagues, thank you again for your gracious hospitality and friendship as we continue to strengthen this most consequential partnership between the world’s two largest democracies.  Thank you both.

MINISTER JAISHANKAR:  (Inaudible) Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Esper, dear colleagues, it is a great pleasure to welcome the American delegation to India for the third 2+2 meeting between us.  As foreign minister, I attach great importance to this particular format of our interaction for three reasons.

First, we live in a more uncertain world with much greater stresses and sharper fault lines.  For most countries, that means giving security a greater salience in their foreign policy.  As major powers, this is even more so in our case.

Second, over the last two decades, our bilateral relationship has grown steadily in its substance, assets, and significance.  The accompanying comfort levels today enable us to engage much more intensively on matters of national security.  This format is clearly tailored for that purpose.

Third, at a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the United States to work closely in defense and foreign policy has a larger resonance.

Together we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, counterterrorism, or creating prosperity.  I am therefore looking forward to our discussions today, and I am sure they will be very productive and fruitful.  Thank you.

 

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Beijing+25: where are we now, and where do we go next?

27 Oct

Special series aims to advance women’s health and gender equality.

Progress on gender equality has been made in all 12 key areas identified in the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Women - but for millions of girls and women around the world today, this visionary agenda is still far from reality.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has commissioned a special series of papers on “Women’s Health and Gender Inequalities” with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) and the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH).

Launched at the World Health Summit, the series reflects on priorities articulated twenty-five years ago for improving women’s health, and asks: what has been learned, and what still needs to change?

Critical areas of concern for women’s health and gender equality

The Beijing Declaration affirmed that women’s rights are human rights and that gender equality is an essential building block for health, well-being, development and peace.

The topics covered in the BMJ series, include a broad range of social and medical factors influencing women’s health, such as sexual and reproductive health; violence against women, mental health, noncommunicable diseases, climate change, limited inclusion of women’s specific health needs in clinical research and the role of the feminist movement in women’s health.

This series also includes a co-authored opinion piece by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Uneven progress and emerging threats to women’s health

Progress in women’s health remains fragile and uneven. While progress has been made in reducing maternal mortality and harmful gender practices such as female genital mutilation, millions of women still continue to have an unmet need for contraception.

Rising rates of reproductive cancers, mental ill-health, non-communicable diseases and new disease outbreaks including Ebola, Zika and COVID-19, are highlighting the need to have a comprehensive approach to women’s health throughout their life-course.

While there is a greater recognition of women as providers of healthcare, many face an unacceptable level of harassment, violence and abuse in the workplace.

Access to health services for millions of women remains limited even as countries are moving to a progressive realization of universal health coverage. In part, this is linked to an emphasis on employment-based health financing, which excludes women, who tend to work in informal sectors.

The impact of COVID-19

In the midst of tracking progress on the Beijing Declaration, the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting or reversing gains made towards gender equality. While women and men seem to be infected by COVID-19 in roughly equal numbers, women health workers, who are the majority of frontline providers, are at increased risk of infection.

COVID-19 has brought rising economic insecurity, driving millions, especially women who work in informal sectors, into unemployment. Lockdown measures have increased the already high burden of unpaid care work shouldered by women, including caring for children, the sick, and the elderly. And distancing measures have increased violence against women and children – a widespread issue even before the pandemic.

Many governments are reprioritizing what health services are provided in the context of COVID-19 and unfortunately scaling back access to essential services for women - including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, which includes services for survivors of violence.

An urgent call to action: Invest in women’s health

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Rector of UN University David Malone, argue in their opinion piece that, “Covid-19 provides an opportunity to re-imagine a future where women’s health and rights are non-negotiable, gender equality is achievable and working towards it is the norm.”

The health, well-being and needs of half the world’s population cannot be treated as an afterthought. Investing in women’s health is a moral and smart imperative. It saves lives, reduces poverty, increases productivity and stimulates economic growth with up to a nine-fold return on investment.

WHO is committed to the Beijing Declaration and is marking the 25th anniversary with a number of activities.

Learn more about our involvement in Beijing+25.

Read the BMJ series. Additional papers will be added in March 202

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