Secretary Pompeo With Rahul Shivshankar of Times Now

QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo, welcome to Times Now. Welcome to India. You have just had a very intensive 36 hours roughly. You signed certain foundation agreements that takes the relationship to a completely different level. We’ve even mentioned the destabilizing actions of China. Has the United States therefore decided to offer India more than just diplomatic assistance in the event of a conflict, let’s assume, with China or Pakistan?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, thanks for having me with you today. We did sign a series of important agreements. They – but the agreements themselves are less important than the central understandings that came alongside them. What’s become very clear now is there is a battle, and the battle in the world is between freedom and authoritarianism, and India, like the United States, has chosen democracy and freedom and sovereignty and all the things that the people of India care so deeply about.

So when confronted by tyranny by the Chinese Communist Party, you can be sure that the United States will stand alongside its partners. We will – look, there’s things India can do that we can’t. There’s things that we can do that it can’t achieve alone. Together, we can be force multipliers and deliver really good outcomes not only for the people of India and for the Indo-Pacific, but for the entire world.

And so as India has now confronted this challenge up in its north, the United States stands ready to do the things that it can do to help deliver safety and security for the Indian people. I’m confident that India will do the same for us all around the world.

QUESTION: We’re at the frontline. We’re a frontline state in this end. (Inaudible) —

SECRETARY POMPEO: And just so you know, the whole world is a frontline state.

QUESTION: Right. All right.

SECRETARY POMPEO: When it comes to the Chinese Communist Party, the entire world is the frontline to the ambition, national rejuvenation. The goal of General Secretary Xi is not local; it is not regional. That desire is global. You see it in the Belt and Road Initiative that extends throughout Africa and through the Middle East. This is a global challenge.

QUESTION: And in just —

SECRETARY POMPEO: And the freedom-loving world must take it on together.

QUESTION: Absolutely, and just giving it back to China, you’ve paid homage to the Galwan martyrs, as we call them here.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.

QUESTION: Would you come to India’s assistance like you did in 1962 if it came to a conflict?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t like to get into hypothetical situations. The United States understands the challenge. You can watch the things that we’re doing. We’ve made it more difficult for China to invest in the United States. We just want fair and reciprocal trading terms. We’ve built up our military like at no time in history. Our diplomacy has shifted. We now understand the challenge that is presented by this seemingly great power. And we stand ready to assist all freedom-loving nations all across the world in their time of need.

QUESTION: In whatever capacity?

SECRETARY POMPEO: In any way that the United States is capable of providing support, we’re confident that together we can deliver the deterrence, right. This is the mission set. It’s the reason we have meetings like we had today here. What we spoke about today was doing the things that can deter Chinese Communist Party aggression not only against India, but I’ll leave here and I’ll go to Sri Lanka, I’ll head to the Maldives and to Indonesia. These are places that have a common set of understandings about the challenge, and I am very hopeful that these nations will unite to deter and prevent precisely what it is that you’re raising as the concern.

QUESTION: You’ve had detailed conversations even with the prime minister, your own counterparts, your Indian counterparts. What have they told you really about the situation? How close are we to resolving this and the Chinese being sort of pushed back to a point where they were?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So it’s a bit of a standoff, many troops on both sides too close and too intent. We hope, I think the Indian Government hopes too, that there will be a disengagement.

QUESTION: What do you assess it as? Do you think that there’s going to be a conflict or do you think there’s going to be de-escalation?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I think anytime a nation shows weakness, you invite Chinese Communist Party aggression.

QUESTION: And India standing firm? The Indian Government’s briefed you, perhaps, on what they’ve been doing?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.

QUESTION: Are you sort of at some level assured that India has really been able to pin down the Chinese and send them a message that they need to de-escalate in the next few months?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I hope. We’ve encouraged the Chinese to de-escalate for sure. We think that’s in China’s best interest. We think it’s in India’s best interest. We think it’s in the world’s best interest. That’s our mission set. We don’t want a conflict there. We don’t – we come in peace everywhere, right? We just signed these historic Abraham Accords and you think they’re disconnected from this region, but they’re not.

It’s the same thing. It’s a set of countries coming together around a shared set of understandings and principles that says hatred of another nation isn’t foreign policy. Build. Build technological relationships, build economic relationships. Don’t hate; just build. And if we do that, the United States is confident that the world can be a more safe and more secure place, and it’s – was what’s so wonderful about today.

I was with my counterpart Foreign Minister Jaishankar and with Defense Minister Singh. We talked about how we can, on behalf of our countries, deliver those kinds of outcomes for each of our two peoples.

QUESTION: India has moved in a decade, along with America, in this relationship – deepened it. You know of all the foundation agreements we’ve signed. So we’ve moved from strategic autonomy, really, to sort of a coalition of the willing, if you like, especially with regards to Quad and the Indo-Pacific. Are you committed to this —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.

QUESTION: — fully?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely. One should never mistake working alongside another nation as giving up any sovereignty. There’s often this perceived – or academics will talk about, oh, you’re ceding your sovereignty to another nation. I actually think it’s just the opposite. I actually think that the cumulative sovereignty of every nation is enhanced by having these partnerships, countries that can work together. And I think India has seen that in working alongside the United States that, frankly, they’re more capable, they’re more sovereign, they can make better decisions for their own people. And the United States can do the same for its.

QUESTION: You’re moving – after this, you’re going, of course, to Maldives and Sri Lanka and Indonesia, so you’re going to be in the Indo-Pacific. My last question to you: What makes you think that these countries are going to join you and India and the wider coalition? Because they’re very firmly in the Chinese sphere right now.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I think every country is beginning to see the reality behind the authoritarian regime that is the Chinese Communist Party today. Frankly, the United States was guilty too. For an awfully long time we appeased the Chinese. We gave them exceptions to every – we held everybody to a rule but we gave China an exception. I think many of these countries are in the same place. I am confident that the whole world is seeing – with this virus that was unleashed from Wuhan that has devastated economies and killed millions of people around the world, I don’t think there are many countries left in the world that don’t understand the Chinese Communist Party is not a force for good and that democracy and freedom are the right direction. And so I think we’ll see really good things fill up from this.

QUESTION: Well, thank you for taking the time out. I know we’re pressed for time, but thank you for indulging us and best of luck for your onward journey.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much, sir. Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thanks for having me on.

QUESTION: Thank you.

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