America’s partnership with India is among the most consequential ones, the Biden administration said Thursday hours after it notified the Congress of its decision to sell 31 armed drones to India at an estimated cost of nearly USD 4 billion. “I would say that our partnership with India is one of our most consequential relationships. We work closely with India on our most vital priorities,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at his daily news conference.

“We have had a close working relationship with the (outgoing Indian) ambassador (Taranjit Singh Sandhu), have been able to work with him on a number of those shared priorities, including the crucial role India plays in ensuring a free open Indo-Pacific that is connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient,” Miller said.

“We wish him well in his future endeavours and look forward to welcoming his replacement,” he said.

In response to a question, Miller said Secretary of State Antony Blinken has a close working relationship with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, where they are able to engage on some of the most urgent and important priorities.

“Obviously, the secretary has travelled to India to meet with the foreign minister on a number of occasions. He’s welcomed him here. He’s met with him in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly,” Miller said.