India an essential partner for the US in QUAD: Official

Published on : 02:54 PM Mar 23, 2022

India is an essential partner for the US in the QUAD in realising the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, a top Biden administration official has said. 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 manoeuvring in the region.

Washington: India is an essential partner for the US in the QUAD in realising the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, a top Biden administration official has said. 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 manoeuvring in the region. China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

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This is a bilateral relationship that has deepened in a number of ways over the past 25 years or so. This has also happened on a bipartisan basis, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday. It is a legacy in large part of the George W. Bush administration, where we have seen this bilateral relationship between the United States and India evolve and change for the better and deepen in a number of ways, including in our defence and security relationship, he said. So, the fact is that we are a partner of India now. We are a partner of India when it comes to shared interests when it comes to the values we share in a free and open Indo-Pacific.

And we've invested in that relationship in terms of our defence and security. So historical relationships notwithstanding, we are a partner of choice for India now, as are many of our partners and allies around the world, Price said in response to a question. India, he said, had a historic defence and security relationship with Russia over time. That relationship came of age and came together at a time when the United States, nor some of our partners, we're prepared to have that kind of relationship with India. It was a very different time, with different considerations, but those times have changed. They've changed in terms of our willingness and ability to be a strong defence and security partner of India, he said. Advertisement

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Price refrained from making any answer on potential CAATSA sanctions on India. I don't have anything new to update you on when it comes to the applicability of CAATSA. We continue to work with Congress and our Indian partners on these issues, he said. But let me say in terms of India's place in the Quad, in terms of our relationship with India in the Quad context and the bilateral context, we know that India is an essential partner for us in realising our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, he said. That is really at the heart of Quad's goals. And when it comes to the Quad, the President and his fellow Quad leaders earlier this month March 3rd I believe it was they had an opportunity to discuss the ongoing conflict in the ongoing Russian invasion against Ukraine. Secretary Blinken just before that had an opportunity to see his Quad counterparts, including Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, as well, Price said.

During these engagements, the Secretary and the President respectively reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific in which the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states are respected, and countries are free from military, economic, and political coercion. In fact, we heard that emanate from the leader's call on March 3. These are principles that we share with our Quad partners. They also reaffirmed their dedication to the Quad as a mechanism to promote regional stability and security, he said. In November 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amid China's growing military presence in the strategic region. China, which has territorial disputes with many countries in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, has been opposing the Quad alliance since its formation.

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