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India is an essential partner for the US in the QUAD in realising the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, a top Biden administration official has said. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday India is an essential partner of the United States as both the countries share the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. The comment follows US president Joe Biden's recent remark that only the response of India, among the Quad countries, has been "somewhat shaky" against Russia.

On being asked how Quad partners are seeing India's stand on Russia, Price said, US State Dept Spox Ned Price said, " So, the fact is that we are a partner of India now. We are a partner of India when it comes to shared interests when it comes to the values we share in a free and open Indo-Pacific. And we’ve invested in that relationship in terms of our defence and security. So historical relationships notwithstanding, we are a partner of choice for India now, as are many of our partners and allies around the world."

India, he said, had a historic defence and security relationship with Russia over time.

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden has said only India among the Quad group of countries was "somewhat shaky" in acting against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, as India tries to balance its ties with Russia and the West.

While the other Quad countries - the United States, Japan and Australia - have sanctioned Russian entities or people, India has not imposed sanctions on its biggest supplier of military hardware.

In November 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amid China’s growing military presence in the strategic region.

China, which has territorial disputes with many countries in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, has been opposing the Quad alliance since its formation.

-With agency inputs

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