US, India will work to advance free and open Indo-Pacific: White House

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Washington: The US will continue to work with India to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific and address the challenges they face around the world, the White House said on Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said India and the United States are partners in many important areas, including defence, vaccines, climate and tech.

The two nations have ever-growing people-to-people connections, she said told reporters at her daily news conference.

Responding to a question, Jean-Pierre said the United States will continue to work together every day to deliver opportunity, security, freedom, and dignity to its people.

“The United States will continue to work with India to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific and address the challenges both our countries face around the world. That is our commitment that we have in our partnership with India,” she said, amid China flexing muscles in the region.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.

Beijing has also built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital to global trade.

The US, Japan, India and Australia had in 2017 given shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the "Quad" or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China's aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region.

The US says the Quad is not an alliance but a grouping of countries driven by shared interests and values and interested in strengthening a rules-based order in the strategically-important Indo-Pacific region.


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