Economic Security is National Security: Assistant Secretary Manisha Singh on the Indo-Pacific

On September 5 the Meridian Corporate Council partnered with Delta Air Lines to host The Honorable Manisha Singh, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State for a discussion on the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy regarding cybersecurity, administrative policy and national security.

Assistant Secretary Singh began her discussion with an overview of her latest trip to the region, which began in Hawaii at the site of Pearl Harbor. Framing her current belief of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy as a continuation of post-WWII goals of cooperation, she emphasized a gap of $26 billion in infrastructure that U.S. private investment could fill in the Indo-Pacific region. Assistant Secretary Singh spoke about the need for the private sector to help bridge this gap in the region, using Papua New Guinea as a success story for such investments. She commented that unlike foreign investors such as China, U.S. companies have an impartial motivation to invest and most countries know how the operation will work. In addition, it was made clear that while China is not the enemy, U.S. national security and workers come first.

When questioned on data privacy, Assistant Secretary Singh stressed the importance of the nexus between the Indo-Pacific strategy and cybersecurity. With Huawei being accused of being a subsidiary of the Chinese government, there have been concerns in the region about using the Huawei products. Singh explained that caution should be used, and companies need to be aware of the risks. The U.S. government is urging allies who share data with the United States to stay away from such products. For U.S. companies, Singh stated that while no formal statement will be issued about Huawei, there is possibility for theft of intellectual property if used. China has affected how the Indo-Pacific Strategy has been implemented overall and will continue to shift the dynamics of the region through their competition with U.S. companies.


Project summary

Economic Security is National Security: Assistant Secretary Manisha Singh on the Indo-Pacific
Number of Attendees: 31
Regions: East Asia and Pacific, South and Central Asia
Countries: Australia, India, Papua New Guinea, China
Impact Areas: Business and Trade
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Private Sector, Public Sector