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Antony Blinken, president Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, has said that China presents the “most significant challenge" to the US, while India has been a “bipartisan success story" and the new US government may further deepen ties with New Delhi.

Blinken, a Biden aide who had served in the Barack Obama administration, made the comments at a US Senate foreign relations committee hearing. “As we look at China, there is no doubt that it poses the most significant challenge of any nation-state to the US in terms of our interests, the interests of the American people," Blinken said overnight Wednesday. The US-China relationship includes “rising adversarial aspects," some competitive and some cooperative, he said, adding that it is in the mutual interest of both countries to work together.

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Analysts have predicted that Biden and his team could be less confrontational vis a vis China compared to the outgoing administration.

However, Blinken said ties with New Delhi had widespread bipartisan support in Washington, across Republican and Democratic parties.

“I think India has been very much a bipartisan success story over successive administrations. It started...toward the end of the Clinton administration, after the nuclear tests when relations were put back on a better footing," Blinken said. “I think there are many ways in which we can deepen that cooperation to pursue the path that successive administrations have put us on."

Blinken recalled that as a senator Biden had led the efforts in the foreign relations committee to push through the India-US civil nuclear deal under then president George W. Bush. “I think during the Obama administration, we deepened cooperation with India, particularly in the defence procurement area, also on information-sharing."

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