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Against backdrop of Chinese confrontation, India, US discuss ‘ongoing threats’

New York, July 7 (IANS) Meeting against the backdrop of Chinas confrontation with India in Ladakh region, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale on Tuesday discussed the “ongoing threats to the rules-based international order” and agreed to “endeavor to support each others objectives,” the State Department said.

The two diplomats, who held the US-India Foreign Office Consultations virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, agreed to work to strengthen the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, the department said.

“The discussions included ongoing threats to the rules-based international order, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic cooperation, maritime security, and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

Hale and Shringla “agreed to consult closely on all challenges and endeavor to support each other’s objectives,” according to the department.

“They discussed US-India cooperation on a full range of international issues and developed concrete steps to strengthen the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership established by their leaders,” the department said.

The partnership was laid out in a joint statement issued when US President Donald Trump visited India in February and met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It called for greater defense and security cooperation, expanded joint military exercises and co-development and co-production of advanced defense equipment.

On a strategic matter of importance to the two countries in the light of the multi-pronged aggressive actions by China, the State Department said that Shringla and Hale “affirmed the US and Indian visions of a free and open Indo-Pacific region” and “agreed to work with other Indo-Pacific partners to bring these visions to reality”.

The main partners are Japan and Australia, which together with India and the US form the Quad that promotes joint consultations and joint military exercises.

Turning to the coronavirus pandemic that is roiling the world, Shringla and Hale stressed on the cooperation between the two countries in pharmaceutical and vaccine development, which they said “will continue to play a critical role in the world’s recovery from Covid-19”.

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