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US wants to be India's ‘partner of choice’ in all areas — Blinken

Washington and New Delhi also plan to maintain a dialogue on the development of economic cooperation

WASHINGTON, April 12. /TASS/. The US administration recognizes that relations between India and Russia have developed over decades, but now Washington expects to become the preferred partner for New Delhi in almost all areas, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said following bilateral talks between the heads of defense and foreign affairs departments of the United States and India at a joint press conference in Washington.

"India's relationship with Russia has developed over decades, at a time when the United States was not able to be a partner to India. Times have changed today. We are able and willing to be a partner of choice with India, across virtually every realm, commerce, technology, education, and security. And that was very much the nature of the conversation that that we had today," Blinken said.

He added, "India is providing significant humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, notably medicines which are very necessary," noting that "India has to make its own decisions about how it approaches this, this challenge".

Washington and New Delhi also plan to maintain a dialogue on the development of economic cooperation. "We also discussed our goal of driving inclusive economic growth, both for our countries and across the region. India and the United States already trade to the tune of more than $150 bln each year. But we're deepening that relationship by restarting the US India commercial dialogue and the US-India CEO Forum later this year, where our private sector partners can offer recommendations to strengthen even more our trade and investment relationship," Blinken said.

He added that the United States is committed to helping India move to clean energy. "Our countries are working together to tackle the climate crisis. The United States is supporting India's ambitious COP26 clean energy commitments by investing in renewable energy projects and mobilizing private sector financing," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years."The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.