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'We would continue to..': Pentagon expresses appreciation for India-US defence partnership, says THIS on China

Ryder's remarks come in the backdrop of Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the South China. India and the US have repeatedly called for a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Updated on: October 06, 2023 12:33 IST
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder
Image Source : AP Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder

The US Department of Defense on Thursday asserted that it will continue to foster a stronger defence relationship with India and other allies in the Indo-Pacific region amid a "pacing challenge" posed by China.

In a regular press briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said, "We very much appreciate our relationship with India on -- on a defense level.  We continue to foster a stronger defense partnership with India, and that is something that I think you'll continue to see us do going forward."

Ryder maintained that China remains a "pacing challenge" for the US Defence Department, and further expressed appreciation for India and other allies in the Indo-Pacific region "when it comes to preserving individual nations' sovereignty and abiding by the international rules-based order".

The US and India have repeatedly emphasised ensuring a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military aggression in the region, especially in the South China Sea. This has put Beijing in conflict with several countries including the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei.

China claims ownership over virtually the entire strategic waterway despite international rulings that invalidated Beijing's vast territorial claims, such as that in 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international body based in The Hague. China rejected that ruling.

Jaishankar on India-US relationship

During his eight-day visit to the United States, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar emphasised the growing India-US relationship, drawing parallels with the recent successful space mission Chandrayaan-3.

"if one looks at the journey, how far we've come, how deep and broad this relationship (India-US relationship) has become. There is no department in the government today that doesn't have dealings with their Indian or American counterparts..," he said during an address with the Indian community in Washington.

All of you are familiar today with the term Indo-Pacific... So clearly, you know, the alphabet 'I' is good for the United States..," he further said, adding that the new India, is an "India of Chandraayan, it's an India of CoWIN, it's an India of 5G".

On US support to India during the G20 Summit in Delhi, the minister said particularly, the contribution, the support and the understanding that India got from the United States to make a successful G 20, he thought that was something he would certainly like to recognise in public in Washington. 

The External Affairs Minister won accolades from the top officials of US President Joe Biden, who called him the "architect" of modern US-India relations. "I have also known (Jaishankar) for a long time over many capacities, and who I can also say, he is the architect of modern US-India relations. We would not be in the strong place that we are today, but for the external affairs minister, your leadership," said veteran diplomat Richard Verma in an address at the same event.

Biden's top advisor, a prominent Indian American in the White House, Neera Tandon said that it's important that India and the US have a strong person-to-person, community-to-community leader relationship based on the strength of the community and today the Indian Americans are throughout the administration at prominent positions. "In fact, you can't throw a stone in the White House and not hit an Indian American these days," Neera Tandon told the community.

(with agency inputs)

ALSO READ | 'Respect our sovereignty', India raises concerns with US over American diplomat's PoK visit

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