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SOURCE: PTI

India and the US today agreed to further strengthen the bilateral relationship to support a free, open, connected and secure Indo-Pacific region. Senior officials from the ministries of External Affairs and Defence, and the US departments of Defence and State met here for the India-US 2+2 Inter-Sessional meeting.

“Reviewed outcomes of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue of April 2022 with the aim of further strengthening the India-US strategic partnership,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. The objective of the meeting was to deepen the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

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 resource-rich region.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, while Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, addressing the India Ideas Summit organised by the US-India Business Council, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the case for stronger collaboration between India and the US has become even stronger with the current globalisation model under threat due to long-standing trends and from the pandemic, conflicts or climate events.

He said with strong political comfort, India and the US are together shaping regional and global developments including via collaborations, such as the Quad and I2U2 (India, Israel, the UAE, and the US).

“In infrastructure, asset monetisation, digital economy, education, health, start-ups, drones, geospatial, blue economy, green hydrogen, a more energetic and innovative India awaits new partnership prospects,” the minister said.

Mr Jaishankar said from defence and security, and societal and businesses, the India-US ties extend to all facets of human endeavour.

“The India of today is ‘atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant). An India that seeks to develop greater capabilities, strengthen its own supply chains, excite its innovators and encourage its talents. An India that is exporting more, inventing more, collaborating more and working more effectively,” he said.

“We are confident that with growing familiarity and contacts, the natural complementarity of India and the US will assert itself for the benefit of our peoples,” Mr Jaishankar said.