US to spend $300 million on Indo-Pacific security
SINGAPORE — The United States of America would provide nearly USD 300 million in security assistance to improve security relationships across the Indo-Pacific region, including Sri Lanka, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at the Asean Regional Forum held here last weekend.
The security assistance funding would cover projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and others, in the areas of Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) Assistance, Peacekeeping Operations and Countering Transnational Crime.
“For more than seven decades, U.S. engagement has advanced freedom, openness, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The President’s National Security Strategy identified advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific among our most important priorities. The United States aims to ensure the freedom of the seas and skies, promote market economics, support good governance, and insulate sovereign nations from external coercion, while enabling partners to protect and advance the rules-based order”, the the U.S. Department of State said.
This includes $290.5 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to strengthen maritime security, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR), and peacekeeping capabilities, and $8.5 million in International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE) funds to counter transnational crime. Under the Bay of Bengal Initiative, a part of the strategy, the United States will ‘work with other partners in the Bay of Bengal, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to enhance the capacity of civilian and military maritime actors in the Indian Ocean Region to improve the target areas of detection, information-sharing, and response to emerging threats.’ The US already shares commercial shipping information with India.
The United States sasid that it would also support regional efforts in South and Southeast Asia to counter transnational crime by strengthening border security to counter illicit trafficking of people, narcotics and goods, expanding security sector and law enforcement cooperation with emerging democracies, promoting safe and efficient commerce and strengthening the rule of law to counter corruption.
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