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India, US explore ways to boost cooperation in Indo-Pacific region

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India and the US have explored ways to further deepen operational cooperation in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to spread its influence.

The issue was discussed extensively during the third round of the India-US Maritime Security Dialogue which took place in Goa from April 30 to May 1.

"The two sides discussed developments in the maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific Region and exchanged views on ways to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The US has been pushing for a broader role by India in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region.

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military maneuvering in the region.

In November last, India, the US, Australia and Japan had given shape to the long-pending Quadrilateral coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of Chinese influence.

The MEA said, during the two-day dialogue, both sides reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken during previous deliberations.

It said the next round of the dialogue will be held in the US on mutually convenient dates.

The Indian delegation was led jointly by Pankaj Sharma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs) and Munu Mahawar, Joint Secretary (Americas) in the MEA.

The US delegation was led by David Helvey, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, and Daniel Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

US President Donald Trump, in his first prime-time televised address to the nation as commander-in-chief last year, had laid out his South Asia policy saying a "critical part" of it was to further develop the US's strategic partnership with India.

In June 2016, the US had designated India a "Major Defence Partner" intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.

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India  US  Pacific  Security  Defence   
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