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India a driving force of Quad, says White House

India a driving force of Quad, says White House
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Washington: India is a driving force of the Quad and an engine for regional growth, the White House has said, days after the foreign ministers of the four-nation grouping met in Melbourne to discuss a host of issues, including China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific and mounting tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine.

"We recognise that India is a like-minded partner and leader in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, active in and connected to Southeast Asia, a driving force of the Quad, and an engine for regional growth and development, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters here.

The foreign ministers of Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia last week met in Melbourne where they vowed to expand cooperation to keep the Indo-Pacific free from "coercion", denounced the use of terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism, assessed the Ukraine crisis and asserted that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar were part of the Quad meeting.

"It was an opportunity to discuss Russia's ongoing threat to Ukraine. They discussed the threat that Russia's aggression poses not only to Ukraine but to the entire international rules-based order, which has provided a foundation for decades of shared security and prosperity for the region and around the globe, she said about the Melbourne meeting.

"Throughout his meetings with the Quad partners, Secretary Blinken discussed the challenges Russia poses to the rules-based on international order and our readiness to support our European allies, she said.

The US, she said, will continue to build a strategic partnership in which the US and India work together to promote stability in South Asia, collaborate in new domains such as health, space, cyberspace, deepen the economic and technology cooperation, and contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The White House refrained from responding to a question on the recent remarks by the Indian minister that India only abides by the multilateral sanctions and does not follow sanctions imposed by individual countries.

"We are not going to get into specifics. We've been really clear about our discussions, so I'm not going into details beyond what we've read out from the Secretary's meeting in Melbourne last week. But we're working closely with a range of allies and partners, including India, Jean-Pierre said in an apparent reference to the Ukrainian crisis.

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