Modi to meet US Vice President in Singapore

New Delhi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet US Vice President Mike Pence during a visit to Singapore on November 14-15 for India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS), a senior official said on Monday.

"Let me confirm that there will be a meeting between the Prime Minister and US Vice President Mike Pence," Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry, said at a media briefing here.

More details will be shared after the meeting between Modi and Pence on November 14, Singh said.

The meeting assumes significance as US President Donald Trump has turned down an invitation to attend India's 2019 Republic Day celebrations as chief guest ostensibly due to scheduling reasons.

Singh said other bilateral meetings were also being arranged between Modi and other visiting leaders in Singapore.

There have been much speculations about the India-US ties over New Delhi's oil imports from Iran and signing of a missile deal with Russia after Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran and Moscow for different reasons.

India and Russia signed the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile deal during the course of the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit between Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin here last month.

The US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that Tehran had signed with the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council, Germany and the EU and imposed the new sanctions on the West Asian nation over its nuclear programme.

Under the sanctions, the US urged all countries in the world to stop importing oil from Iran.

Singh said that high on Modi's agenda will be a summit meeting on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on November 14.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the 10 Asean member states and the six countries with which this regional bloc has existing free trade agreements -- Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

The RCEP is expected to be concluded by the end of the year as New Delhi continues to increase its engagement with southeast Asia under its Act East Policy.

Modi will attend the 13th EAS and his fifth India-Asean Summit during his 36-hour visit to the Southeast Asian city state.

The EAS member states comprise 10 Asean nations and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the US and Russia.

On November 14, Modi will also deliver the keynote address at the Singapore Fintech Summit. India will be the largest participant at the event with 400 exhibitors.

Modi will also confer awards on winners of a hackathon between Indian and Singaporean students. On November 15, he will have a breakfast meeting with leaders of the Asean countries.

The Prime Minister will also attend a meeting of the leaders of the quad -- comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia -- that was revived last year and which seeks to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.-IANS