US Deputy Secy of State to visit Bhutan, India

Washington: US Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will undertake a two-nation visit to Bhutan and India from August 11 to 17 to advance Washington’s partnership with both countries that are critical to preserving the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

“In Thimphu, Deputy Secretary Sullivan will explore expanding and deepening our ties with the government and people of Bhutan,” a press statement from State Department said.

To give a boost to India-US bilateral ties, Sullivan will then visit New Delhi where he will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and will deliver an address at the India-US Forum.

“He will then travel to New Delhi to advance the broad and multi-faceted U.S.-India strategic partnership, which is based on a shared commitment to democratic values, economic growth, and the rule of law. There the Deputy Secretary will meet with Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar and speak at the India-U.S. Forum,” the statement said.

Sullivan’s upcoming visit to India comes amid rising tensions in the region following New Delhi’s move to abrogate of Article 370 which granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the border state into two Union Territories.

Pakistan which has been rattled by India’s decision has “rejected” the move and said it will consider “all options” to counter the steps. It then decided to downgrade relations with India and suspended all bilateral trade activities.
Responding to Pakistan’s move, New Delhi asked Islamabad to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved, while strictly maintaining that its steps in Jammu and Kashmir are an “entirely internal affair”.

The international community has urged both countries to exercise restraint and to ensure that peace and stability prevail along the Line of Control (LoC).