US backs India as global power and vital partner in Indo-Pacific as Blinken begins visit

By Hindustan times

The US said on Monday it backs India’s emergence as a leading global power and a vital partner to make the Indo-Pacific a region of stability and economic inclusion as secretary of state Antony Blinken began a two-day visit to the country.

Blinken, the third senior member of the Biden administration to travel to India this year, is expected to hold wide-ranging discussions on issues such as the situation in Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific during his meetings with external affairs minister S Jaishankar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

The secretary of state flew into New Delhi hours after US defense secretary Lloyd Austin accused China of working against the shared principles and interests of the US and its partners across the Indo-Pacific. While the US and its friends are committed to inclusion and freedom of the seas, China had shown “unwillingness to resolve disputes peacefully and respect the rule of law”, he said.

Opposing China’s claim to the majority of the South China Sea, Austin said: “We have also seen aggression against India…destabilising military activity and other forms of coercion against the people of Taiwan…and genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.”

A fact sheet issued by the US state department soon after Blinken arrived in New Delhi on Monday evening said his engagements will reaffirm Washington’s commitment to strengthen the bilateral partnership and underscore cooperation on shared priorities.

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