India has sought US cold weather equipment as the showdown goes into the freezing Himalayan winter and officials said this could be raised when Pompeo and Esper meet India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Esper will also be discussing ways to increase cooperation between the two countries’ military forces.
This could include intelligence sharing, stepping up joint exercises, and arms sales — including possibly US F-18 fighter jets.
Pompeo will go on from India to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia, all of which have a key role in Indian Ocean maritime traffic where China has cast a greater shadow.
The secretary of state said ahead of the trip that his meetings would “include discussions on how free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party”.