US, India share strong interest in Indo-Pacific: Biden

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Washington: Asserting that India and the US share a strong interest in a rules-based Indo-Pacific region where no country including China threatens, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday said the two nations can undeniably shape the region for a much better future.

“The US and India share a strong interest in a rules-based Indo-Pacific region, where no country including China threatens its neighbours with impunity,” Biden said in his address to a virtual fundraiser for Indian Americans.

In his first ever virtual fundraiser as a presidential candidate for Indian Americans that was attended by 268 people, Biden alleged that President Donald Trump is ceding space to China just when the country is looking to undercut its neighbours and the American leadership in the Pacific.

“We can undeniably shape the Indo-Pacific order for a much better, better future. We can get it right. This election is going to determine our future,” Biden said during the fundraiser in a conversation with Dr Vivek Murthy, former surgeon general.

Referring to his long-standing ties with India and the work that he has done over the past several decades, first as the US senator from Delaware and then as the country’s vice president, Biden said his administration is going to continue to value this relationship.

“It is not about photo ops or handshakes, it is about getting things done,” he said without elaborating any further. Fifteen years ago, Biden told the Indian Americans that he was leading the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a Republican, Senator Richard Lugar, and they approved the historic India-US civil nuclear deal.

“At the time, I said when India and the United States become closer friends, the world will be a much safer place. Seven years ago, as vice president, I told a business owner in Mumbai that the US-India partnership was the defining relationship in the 21st century,” he said.

“I am not just saying it now, I said it then and I mean it,” the former vice president said while asserting that he will continue to believe this as the president. “I will work to make sure it occurs,” he said. Biden said he has long called for standing with Indians confronting terrorism in the region, strengthening India’s defence capabilities, expanding trade between the two countries and tackling global challenges like climate change and global health.