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US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Thursday that the US is eager to continue deepening and strengthening its cooperation with partners in India.

Asked about Lok Sabha elections in India and whether the US has sent any observers, Patel responded, “I am not aware of the United States sending any observers. We generally don’t in the case of advanced democracies like India.”

“We, of course, are eager to continue to deepen and strengthen our cooperation with our partners in India, and we are just going to let the election play out. I don’t have any assessment or comment to offer on that,” he aat a press briefing.

With the world’s largest democratic exercise underway in India, voters will begin exercising their franchise on Friday to elect 543 members of Parliament in a seven-phased election that is unparalleled in terms of its scale and logistics and covers every voter of the vast and diverse country.

A total of 16.63 crore voters will be voting in the first phase on April 19, deciding the fate of 1,625 candidates. According to the data released by the Election Commission of India, a total of 1.87 lakh polling stations have been set up, while 18 lakh personnel have been deployed across the 102 constituencies going to the polls on Friday.

The first phase, with the highest number of parliamentary constituencies among all seven phases, will witness polling in 21 States and Union Territories.

An estimated 8.4 crore male voters, 8.23 crore female voters, and 11,371 third-gender electors are eligible to vote in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls, according to the ECI data.

This year’s Lok Sabha election, to be conducted from April 19 to June 1, will be the second-longest polling exercise in the country’s electoral history after the first general election, which was held over five months between September 1951 and February 1952.

Polling will also be held on April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1 to elect the 18th Lok Sabha, and votes will be counted on June 4. Notably, the last general elections in 2019 were also held in seven phases.