NEW YORK: The US has deepened its partnership with India in 2023 and elevated cooperation with it through the Quad along with Japan and Australia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Blinken’s remarks came at his end-of-year press availability at the State Department in Washington on Wednesday.

“We’ve deepened our partnership with India. We’ve elevated cooperation through the Quad with India, Japan, and Australia,” he said.

The US, Japan, India and Australia had in 2017 given shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China’s aggressive behaviour in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region.

US President Joe Biden hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a State Visit in Washington in June this year and the US leader had then travelled to Delhi for the G20 Leaders’ Summit hosted by PM Modi under India’s presidency of the grouping.

Blinken said that Washington’s partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region have never been stronger and the US will continue to engage with China from a position of strength.

He noted that in 2023, Biden held his historic summit at Camp David with Japan and South Korea, cementing a new era of trilateral cooperation.

The US is working with the United Kingdom and Australia to produce nuclear-powered submarines.

Washington launched new comprehensive strategic partnerships with Vietnam and Indonesia, a new Defence Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines, new trilateral initiatives with the Philippines and Japan, and new embassies in the Solomon Islands and Tonga, he said.

“The United States is more closely aligned, more closely aligned than ever, with the G7, with the EU, with other allies and partners on the challenges presented by Beijing. And we’re working together to address them,” he said, adding that the US is deepening cooperation and coordination between NATO and its Indo-Pacific allies.

“These efforts have allowed us to engage more effectively when tackling areas of concern, like China’s coercive trade and economic practices, peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the East and South China Seas, and human rights,” he said.

Blinken noted that Washington’s efforts to restore high-level diplomacy, starting with his trip to Beijing in July, “have allowed us to take practical steps to reduce the risk that competition veers into conflict, as well as to make progress on issues that matter in the lives of our fellow citizens.”

“That was on full display when President Biden met with President Xi (Jinping) last month and made tangible progress on issues that matter, that matter to Americans as well as to people around the world,” he said.

The US and Chinese leaders had met for a Summit in Woodside, California last month during the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, their first meeting in about a year.

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