14/11/2018 11:40 AM IST | Updated 14/11/2018 11:58 AM IST

Narendra Modi In Singapore: PM Meets US VP Mike Pence, To Discuss Bilateral Ties

The two leaders are also expected to discuss a common vision for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US Vice President Mike Pence.

SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US Vice President Mike Pence in Singapore on Wednesday on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit and the two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral ties, including defence cooperation and the need for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Modi began his two-day visit to the country where he will also attend the East Asia Summit, an ASEAN-India informal meet, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership summit.

The two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral defence cooperation and a common vision for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, official sources said.

Pence will be representing President Donald Trump at the ASEAN and East Asia Summit in Singapore.

Prime Minister Modi will also attend the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit hosted by Singapore as the current Chair of ASEAN grouping.

As strategic partners, India and ASEAN enjoy close trade and economic relations.

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Trade between India and ASEAN stood at $81.33 billion in 2017-18 and constitutes 10.58 percent of India's total trade. Exports to ASEAN countries constitute 11.28 percent of India's total exports.

India and the US have explored ways to further deepen operational cooperation in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to spread its influence.

China is 'coercing' its neighbours to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to its advantage as Beijing flexes its muscles in the East and South China Seas.

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvering in the region.