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India 'critical partner' for US in meeting Indo-Pacific challenge: Pentagon - New York News

New York, Feb 18 (IANS) US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin considers India "a critical partner" for meeting the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and gives priority to ties with it, according to Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby.

Updated Feb 18, 2021 04:33 AM

India 'critical partner' for US in meeting Indo-Pacific challenge: Pentagon - New York News

"The secretary is prioritising this relationship, wants to see it continue to grow and develop and to get stronger," Kirby said on Wednesday at a news briefing in Washington.

"He looks very much looking forward to working on initiatives to do just that," Kirby said in reply to a reporter's question about Austin's views on relations with India.

Austin considers India "a critical partner, especially when you consider all the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region," he added.

Austin spoke last month with India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and "emphasised the Department's commitment to the US-India Major Defence Partnership, observing that it is built upon shared values and a common interest in ensuring the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open", the Pentagon said.

President Joe Biden announced the formation of the new strategy task force so that "we can chart a strong path forward on China-related matters" during a visit to the Pentagon last week.

"We need to meet the growing challenges posed by China to keep the peace and defend our interests in the Indo-Pacific and globally," he said.

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