India more than just a partner for open, secure Indo-Pacific, says US

ANIUpdated: Thursday, February 17, 2022, 11:58 AM IST
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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken | Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

Washington D.C. (US): Top US State Department officials on Thursday said that India is more than just a partner in the vision laid out by the Biden administration to restore American leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and the choices made now will decide the future for open, secure, and resilient region.

In a telephonic press conference, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu discussed the Biden-Harris Administration's recently-released Indo-Pacific Strategy, which sets forth Washington's vision for a region that is open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient.

Lu said, "India is more than just a partner. We work more closely with India on daily basis than any country in the region."

Elaborating upon the strategic ties with India, Kritenbrink said, "US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar had "open and honest discussion" on Ukraine/Russia crisis and while it is "complex issue" but both sides "talk about every issue, including tough one" during the recently concluded Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) Foreign Ministers' meeting in Melbourne.

"We had the opportunity to sit down with our Indian EAM S Jaishankar. Blinken and Jaishankar discussed strategic partnership and way to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation of the Quad," said Lu.

"The US had 'honest' discussion on Russia/Ukraine crisis in Melbourne and Indo-Pacific future depends on choices we make now," he added.

Talking about the economic framework in the Indo-Pacific region, Lu said that he was excited about it.

"We are eager to work with partners on a whole range of issues, including supply chains, energy, financing infrastructure and trade issues. I am pleased to report that Indian colleagues are very interested in engaging both US and other partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region," added Lu.

Talking about the impact of the crisis in Ukraine on the US's Indo-Pacific strategy, Kritenbrink said, "The stakes are high when we look at the crisis in Ukraine. We look at the recent statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. We can't dismiss the challenge that the vision they put forward opposes our approach to the region and to the world. We have great confidence in ourselves. We believe that our vision will win the support of the wider world."

"We have a different vision for the world. We stand for a world and vision grounded in problem-solving, innovation, not coercion and aggression, the vision that privileges freedom and openness over spheres of influence and it starts with basic principles that all states can support sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes. That is our affirmative vision for the region in contrast to the vision put forward by President Putin and Xi," added Kritenbrink.

The Biden Administration has made historic strides to restore American leadership in the Indo-Pacific and adapt its role for the 21st century.

In the last year, the United States has modernized its longstanding alliances, strengthened emerging partnerships, and forged innovative links among them to meet urgent challenges, from the competition with China to climate change to the pandemic.

"We envision an Indo-Pacific that is open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure--and we are ready to work together with each of you to achieve it," Biden had said during East Asia Summit on October 27 last year.

This strategy outlines President Biden's vision to more firmly anchor the United States in the Indo-Pacific and strengthen the region in the process. Its central focus is sustained and creative collaboration with allies, partners, and institutions, within the region and beyond it.

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