The two sides vowed to work closely for the peace and prosperity of the region as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held wide-ranging deliberations with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis during the first 2+2 dialogue here

NEW DELHI: India and the US, in an indirect reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, on Thursday announced that they will seek partnership with other countries for “transparent, responsible and sustainable debt financing practices in infrastructure development”.

The long-term goal of BRI and its opaque financing model are pushing countries into the Chinese debt trap. Against this backdrop, the issue of ‘transparency and openness’ was high on the agenda of the Indo-US 2+2 Dialogue here.

While the US Secretary of State has outlined Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy in the past, New Delhi wanted to hear firsthand from the top US official . “During the discussion, we noticed a growing convergence of views, among others on the Indo-Pacific,” foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said in a statement.

“Noting the importance of infrastructure and connectivity for the Indo-Pacific region, both sides emphasised the need to work collectively with other partner countries to support transparent, responsible and sustainable debt financing practices in infrastructure development,” suggested the joint statement without naming BRI.

Both sides committed to work together and in concert with other partners toward advancing a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. On south Asia, the statement said: “The ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to a united, sovereign, democratic... and peaceful Afghanistan. The two sides expressed support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace...process.”