Secretary Pompeo Travels to India to Advance U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership

Office of the Spokesperson

“Let’s seize this moment to deepen cooperation between two of the world’s greatest democracies.”

– U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, July 22, 2020

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo will travel to New Delhi, India, October 26-27, 2020, where he and Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper will meet with External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh for the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. Secretary Pompeo will also meet with Prime Minister Modi and hold discussions with other government and business leaders on ways to advance the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

 

THE U.S.-INDIA RELATIONSHIP: ROOTED IN DEMOCRATIC TRADITIONS AND GROWING IN NEW STRATEGIC DIMENSIONS

  • The United States and India have a strong and growing bilateral relationship built on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, the United States and India enjoy deeply rooted democratic traditions. The growth in the partnership reflects a deepening strategic convergence on a range of issues. Our cooperation is expanding in important areas including health, infrastructure development, energy, aviation, science, and space.
  • Holding the third U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in just over two years demonstrates high-level commitment to our shared diplomatic and security objectives.
  • President Trump made a historic visit to India earlier this year, speaking in Ahmedabad before over 100,000 people. Secretary Pompeo’s visit marks the fourth visit to India by a Secretary of State during the Trump Administration.

 

INDIA IS A REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEADER

  • As outlined in our National Security Strategy, the United States welcomes India’s emergence as a leading regional and global power. The United States looks forward to collaborating closely with India during its upcoming term on the UN Security Council.
  • The recent Quadrilateral Ministerial meeting in Tokyo convened by Secretary Pompeo and his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia, demonstrated the strong cooperative ties among Indo-Pacific democracies interested in strengthening a rules-based order in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous. The Quad has proven to be an effective multilateral mechanism, helping to create resilient supply chains, promote transparency, counter disinformation, and increase maritime security.
  • India, with its large economy, strong support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and its growing international trade, is one of the world’s leading economic powers and is well positioned to promote our shared vision for a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific where all nations can prosper.

 

OUR DEFENSE AND SECURITY COOPERATION IS INCREASINGLY STRONG

  • We are expanding cooperation between our two militaries. This includes our navies, which play a critical role in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
  • In July 2020, the Indian Navy successfully completed a passing exercise with the U.S. Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group transited through the Indian Ocean Region.
  • In 2019, the U.S. and India held their first-ever tri-service exercise, Tiger Triumph, in which the U.S. Navy and Marines, Air Force, and Army participated in a bilateral exercise with their Indian counterparts. The United States welcomes Australia joining the Malabar naval exercise alongside India and Japan.
  • Defense trade has increased significantly over the past two decades. India maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the United States, and as of 2020 the United States has authorized more than $20 billion in defense sales to India.
  • The United States and India enjoy robust defense industrial cooperation. Through the U.S.- India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defense equipment.

 

OUR PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE TIES: AN UNBREAKABLE BOND OF FRIENDSHIP

  • Indian students enrich our universities and colleges, contribute to the American economy, and build lifelong bonds with Americans. The number of Indian students studying in the United States has increased five years in a row, more than doubling from 96,000 students in the 2012- 13 academic year to more than 200,000 in 2018-19.
  • The Indian diaspora in the United States is nearly four million strong. More than 50,000 Indian-Americans gathered in Houston over a year ago to attend the “Howdy Modi” rally, the largest-ever gathering with a foreign political leader in the United States.
  • The Fulbright-Nehru Program is central to fulfilling the February 2020 commitment by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to increase higher education collaboration. Since its creation 70 years ago, the program has awarded more than 10,000 Fulbright scholarships and nearly 9,000 other awards to U.S. and Indian students, scholars, and professionals.
  • In 2019, the U.S. Department of State launched Partnership 2020 to fund fifteen research partnerships between American and Indian higher education institutions in key 21st century fields such as financial technology, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and public health.
  • In 2021, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in India in support of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative. AWE will help women develop the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and scale successful businesses.

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    Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo, was sentenced today in federal court to 14 months in prison. Yeo pled guilty on July 24, 2020 to acting within the United States as an illegal agent of a foreign power without first notifying the Attorney General, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 951. The announcement was made by John G. Demers, Assistant Attorney General; Michael R. Sherwin, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia; James A. Dawson, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of FBI Washington Field Office; Alan E. Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division; and Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Colón, Domestic Operations Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Colón, Domestic Operations.
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  • Hospital Pharmacist to Plead Guilty to Attempting to Spoil Hundreds of COVID Vaccine Doses
    In Crime News
    A Wisconsin pharmacist has agreed to plead guilty to charges filed today in federal court that he attempted to render hundreds of doses of COVID-19 vaccine ineffective.
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  • Owner of Medical Laboratory Sentenced to Prison for Filing False Tax Returns
    In Crime News
    A Shreveport, Louisiana, business owner was sentenced to 40 months in prison on Sept. 30, 2020, for filing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Alexander C. Van Hook.
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  • Drug Misuse: Agencies Have Not Fully Identified How Grants That Can Support Drug Prevention Education Programs Contribute to National Goals
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Education (Education), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) manage six key federal grant programs that can support drug prevention activities in schools. The flexibility of these grants supports a variety of drug prevention education programs. The agencies generally monitor grantees' compliance with grant requirements through periodic reporting. The aim of the National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy) is to reduce drug misuse, but HHS, and ONDCP have not fully defined how several key grant programs support the Strategy. ONDCP's guidance directs agencies to report, for each grant program, performance measures that relate to the Strategy's goals. However, some performance measures for several programs did not relate to drug prevention, did not link directly to the Strategy's prevention goals, or were not reported at all. For example: A $372 million set-aside for HHS's Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program must be used on drug prevention, but HHS did not link the program's performance measures to the Strategy's prevention education goal.   ONDCP did not report on any performance measures in the Strategy or document how its $100 million Drug-Free Communities Support program contributes to achieving specific goals in the Strategy. GAO also found that the approximately $10 million grants to states component of Education's School Climate Transformation Grant program could more fully provide performance information related to the Strategy's prevention education goal. Fully understanding these programs' contributions to the goals of the National Drug Control Strategy could help Congress and the public better understand and assess how the nation's significant investments in drug prevention education programs help address the drug crisis. Most people who develop a substance use disorder begin using substances as adolescents. To reach adolescents, drug prevention programs are frequently provided in schools. Education, HHS, and ONDCP manage most federal programs that support school-based drug prevention activities. This report (1) describes how Education, HHS, and ONDCP support drug prevention activities in schools, and monitor those efforts and (2) examines the extent to which these agencies identify how their prevention activities support the National Drug Control Strategy. GAO reviewed agency documentation, the 2019 and 2020 National Drug Control Strategy documents which ONDCP identified as being most relevant to our review including the fiscal year 2019 drug control budget, ONDCP guidance, relevant federal laws, and GAO's prior work on attributes of successful performance measures that can help achieve agency goals. GAO also interviewed federal and state officials. GAO is making four recommendations, including that Education, HHS, and ONDCP clarify how grants that can include drug prevention education programs support related goals of the National Drug Control Strategy. HHS and ONCP agreed with the recommendation and Education partially concurred, saying it would explore collecting and reporting related performance data. For more information, contact Jacqueline M. Nowicki at (617) 788-0580 or nowickij@gao.gov.
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    A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Surgical Care Affiliates LLC and its related entity (collectively SCA), which own and operate outpatient medical care centers across the country, for agreeing with competitors not to solicit senior-level employees, the Department of Justice announced today. These are the Antitrust Division’s first charges in this ongoing investigation into employee allocation agreements.
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  • Public Health Preparedness: Information on the Use of Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers during Emergencies
    In U.S GAO News
    Almost all states have a network of health care volunteers—the Medical Reserve Corps—who can augment federal, state, and local capabilities in response to public health emergencies, such as those arising from wildfires and hurricanes, and infectious disease outbreaks. Having sufficient, trained personnel, such as these volunteers, is critical to a state's capability to respond and recover from public health emergencies. According to federal data, 48 states and the District of Columbia reported 102,767 health care volunteers in 838 Medical Reserve Corps units as of September 2019, with nurses making up 43 percent. Number of Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers by Type, as of September 2019 Note: These data illustrate 90 percent of total health care volunteers. The remaining five types volunteers each make up less than 5 percent of the total. Other Public Health Medical volunteers may include cardiovascular technicians, sonographers, and phlebotomists. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers in states included in GAO's review—Alabama, California, North Carolina, and New Mexico—were deployed in response to natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, migrants at the southern border in 2019, and COVID-19 in 2020. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) documentation shows these volunteers performed a variety of health care activities, such as providing medical services, setting up and providing support at shelters, and distributing medical supplies. Volunteers from these four states and others also participated in the response to COVID-19 by supporting testing sites, collecting specimens, and performing administrative tasks, such as data entry. For example, one unit deployed four volunteers a day for 3 days to work alongside nurses at a drive-through testing site. In addition to responding to public health emergencies, volunteers participated in preparedness activities, such as an initiative to train the public on how to respond to emergencies. HHS oversees the Medical Reserve Corps program and has assisted units in developing their volunteer capabilities. For example, HHS funded the development of a checklist of activities that should occur during volunteer deployment such as re-verifying medical credentials; provided training to new unit leaders on developing, managing, and sustaining Medical Reserve Corps units; and issued generally accepted practices, such as periodically re-evaluating volunteer recruitment procedures. The Medical Reserve Corps consists of health care volunteers—medical and public health professionals—who donate their time to help strengthen a response to public health emergencies and build community resilience. These volunteers prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, which may include natural disasters—such as hurricanes and wildfires—as well as disease outbreaks, whether intentional or natural. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 included a provision for GAO to review states' use of health care volunteers during public health emergencies. This report describes (1) the number and type of Medical Reserve Corps volunteers; (2) the types of public health emergencies volunteers have participated in; and (3) how HHS has assisted in developing volunteer capabilities. To conduct this work, GAO analyzed data reported to HHS as of September 2019; reviewed HHS documentation on four states' use of volunteers, which GAO selected based on population, number of volunteers, and event; and interviewed officials from HHS who oversee the Medical Reserve Corps program. GAO plans to further examine how states have used health care volunteers to respond to public health emergencies, including COVID-19, and any associated challenges to doing so in a future report. GAO provided a draft of this report to HHS. In response, HHS provided technical comments, which were incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Mary Denigan-Macauley at (202) 512-7114 or deniganmacauleym@gao.gov.
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  • Retirement Security: Other Countries’ Experiences with Caregiver Policies
    In U.S GAO News
    For over a decade, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom (UK) have developed and implemented national approaches—including strategies, laws, and policies—to support family caregivers, according to experts GAO interviewed. Specifically, experts noted that these efforts could help caregivers maintain workforce attachment, supplement lost income, and save for retirement. As a result, their retirement security could improve. For example, experts said: Care leave allows employees to take time away from work for caregiving responsibilities. Australia's and Germany's policies allow for paid leave (10 days per year of work or instance of caregiving need, respectively), and all three countries allow for unpaid leave though the duration varies. Caregivers can receive income for time spent caregiving. Australia and the UK provide direct payments to those who qualify. Germany provides indirect payments, whereby the care recipient receives an allowance, which they can pass on to their caregiver. Other Countries' Policies to Support Caregivers Experts in all three countries cited some challenges with caregiver support policies. For example, paid leave is not available to all workers in Germany, such as those who work for small firms. In Australia and the UK, experts said eligibility requirements for direct payments (e.g., limits on hours worked or earnings) can make it difficult for someone to work outside their caregiving role. Experts in all three countries said caregivers may be unaware of available supports. For example, identifying caregivers is a challenge in Australia and the UK. As required under the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened the Family Caregiving Advisory Council (FCAC)—a stakeholder group that is to jointly develop a national family caregiving strategy. As of July 2020, HHS and the FCAC reported limited information on other countries' approaches, and neither entity had concrete plans to collect more. In September 2020, HHS officials provided sources they recently reviewed on selected policies in other countries, and they further noted that HHS staff, FCAC members, and collaborating partners have subject-matter expertise and bring perspectives about other countries' efforts into their discussions. Family caregivers play a critical role in supporting the elderly population, which is growing at a rapid rate worldwide. However, those who provide eldercare may risk their own long-term financial security. Other countries have implemented policies to support caregivers. In recognition of challenges caregivers face in the United States, Congress directed HHS, in consultation with other federal entities, to develop a national family caregiving strategy. GAO was asked to provide information about other countries' efforts that could improve the retirement security of parental and spousal caregivers. This report examines (1) other countries' approaches to support family members who provide eldercare, (2) challenges of these approaches, and (3) the status of HHS' efforts to develop a national family caregiving strategy. GAO conducted case studies of three countries—Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom—selected based on factors including rates of informal care (i.e., help provided to older family members or friends) and the types of policies they have that could improve caregivers' retirement security. GAO interviewed government officials and experts and reviewed relevant federal laws, research, and documents. GAO's draft report recommended that HHS collect additional information about other countries' experiences. In response, in September 2020, HHS provided an update on its efforts to do so. As a result, GAO removed the recommendation and modified the report accordingly. For more information, contact Tranchau (Kris) T. Nguyen at or nguyentt@gao.gov.
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