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US and India declare themselves ‘one of the closest partners in the world’

Biden and Modi took careful aim at China and Russia in their joint communiqué

The US and India declared themselves “one of the closest partners in the world” in a joint communique following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington with his host President Joe Biden.

Along with this and other important statements, the two carefully targeted China and Russia, Reuters reported.

The US is unhappy with India’s continued close ties with Russia amid the Moscow-led war in Ukraine. During his visit to Washington, Modi did not once directly mention China and Russia, while Biden mentioned only China, and that in response to a journalist’s question.

But in the joint declaration after the two-and-a-half-hour meeting between the two, Moscow and Beijing appear to have come under their crosshairs.

The two leaders stressed the importance of a rules-based world order and pointed out that “the current world order is built on the principles in the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty of the territorial integrity of states.”

“The United States and India reaffirm their determination to counter any attempt to unilaterally undermine the multilateral system,” their statement said.

The two leaders “expressed deep concern over the conflict in Ukraine and mourned the terrible and tragic humanitarian consequences.”

They noted the war’s “serious and growing impact on the global economic system, including on food, fuel, and energy security and on critical supply chains.”

The two countries pledged “to continue humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people and agree on the importance of Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction.”

Biden and Modi “reiterated their enduring commitment to a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region in which territorial integrity, sovereignty, and international law are respected.” They expressed “concern over coercive actions and rising tensions” in the region and opposed any destabilizing or unilateral actions to forcefully change the regional status quo.

The leaders “underscored the importance of compliance with international law, particularly as it pertains to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and freedom of navigation and overflight, in addressing rule-based challenges to the maritime legal order, including in the Eastern and the South China Sea”.

In the joint statement, the US and India, among other things, condemned North Korea’s missile tests and the situation in Myanmar, calling for a “transition in Myanmar to a broadly representative federal democratic system”.

Biden and Modi called on Pakistan to take “immediate” measures to ensure its territory is not used for cross-border extremist attacks.

Washington also reiterated its support for India to find a permanent member seat in a future reformed UN Security Council.

The US and India reaffirm their shared “common values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, pluralism and equal opportunities for all citizens,” the communique added.

During Modi’s visit, he and Biden struck a number of agreements in areas such as semiconductors, mining of critical minerals, technology, space, and defense cooperation, and sales.

Some aim to diversify supply chains to reduce dependence on China, while others aim to capture niche markets in advanced technologies that may be part of the battlefield of the future.

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