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India, a key partner, says the Pentagon; Quad’s Foreign Ministers to Meet Virtually Thursday | India News

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WASHINGTON: India is a critical partner, especially when considering all the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, the Pentagon said on the eve of the first Quad ministerial meeting under the Biden administration.
Quad Ministerial is an informal grouping of four countries, namely Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
“India is a critical partner, especially when considering all the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at his daily press conference: “I am pleased to announce that tomorrow (Thursday) morning, Secretary Blinken and his counterparts from Japan, Australia and India will speak together.
“This discussion with Quad’s foreign ministers is critical to advancing our shared goals of a free and open Indo-Pacific and meeting the defining challenges of our time, including coordinating our efforts in responding to COVID-19 and climate change, “he said. saying.
Recent media reports in Japan have stated that a Quad leadership summit was in the works. So far, there has been no confirmation from the Biden administration.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would support such a meeting, Kirby said in response to a question.
“It (India) is a very important bilateral relationship that we have and, in particular, relations between the military. India is a critical partner, especially when considering all the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, ”he said.
“What I can tell you clearly is that the (defense) secretary is prioritizing this relationship, wants to see it continue to grow and develop and strengthen, and is eager to work on initiatives to do just that,” Kirby. additional.
In an op-ed in Newsweek this week, India’s ambassador to the US, Taranjit Sing Sandhu, had said that deepening defense and strategic partnership constituted an important area of ​​cooperation, which is based on a strong institutional framework for collaboration in defense and shared strategic interests. .
“This will be particularly important in Asia, where we will work bilaterally and with like-minded partners to pursue a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, while advancing the security and economic interests of countries with legitimate and vital interests in the region. . And we will build on the deepening trade and investment links that create economic opportunities and jobs in both countries, ”Sandhu wrote.

Times of India

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