USA to spend nearly $300m to boost security in Indo-Pacific region

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Indo-Pacific
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the press during a previous event in Singapore last month.

The USA is set to provide nearly $300 million in assistance to improve security relationships across the Indo-Pacific region. 

The move was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following the Asean Regional Forum held in Singapore last weekend.

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The funding would cover projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and others. It will cover matters including Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Assistance, Peacekeeping Operations and Countering Transnational Crime.

A statement issued by the US Department of State today (Tuesday, August 7) said: “For more than seven decades, US 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. 

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“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.”

Indo-Pacific priorities

This includes $290.5 million in Foreign Military Financing to strengthen maritime security, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, peacekeeping capabilities and $8.5 million in International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funds to counter transnational crime. 

Under the Bay of ‘Bengal Initiative’ 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 said it would also support efforts in Southeast Asia to counter trans-national crime by strengthening border security to counter illicit trafficking of people and drugs, expanding law enforcement cooperation, promoting safe and efficient commerce and fighting corruption.

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