Describing India as one of the few trusted like-minded countries, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that New Delhi is an important partner and a key pillar of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

In his virtual keynote address to the annual ‘India Ideas Summit’ of the US India Business Council (USIBC), Pompeo said he was happy to report that India is a “rising” US defense and security partner in the Indo-Pacific and globally.

The United States, he said, “desires a new age of ambition” in its relationship with India.

Asserting that the US has never been more supportive of India’s security, he said New Delhi too, is an important partner and a key pillar of President Trump’s foreign policy.

“We don’t just interact on a bilateral basis. We see each other for what we are great democracies, global powers and really good friends. India is one of the few trusted like-minded countries whose leaders I call on a regular basis for counsel and collaboration on issues that span continents,” Pompeo said.

“I’m confident that our relationship is only getting stronger. Let’s emerge from this current challenge more resilient and innovative than before. And let’s seize this moment to deepen cooperation between two of the world’s greatest democracies,” he added.

Pompeo said the US has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the next G7 meeting to be hosted by President Trump.

“We will advance the economic prosperity network. It is the group of countries and organisations that we consider natural partners with we share values like democracy, transparency and rule of law,” Pompeo said.

The Group of Seven (G-7) is an international intergovernmental economic organisation consisting of seven major developed countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, which are some of the largest IMF-advanced economies in the world.

Pompeo also said that he was happy to report that India is a rising US defense and security partner, in the Indo-Pacific and globally.

“I’m confident that with our concerted efforts, we can protect our interests” he said.

“We’ve revived the so-called quad that comprised the US, India, Japan and Australia. India is also part of a group of likeminded nations that I’ve convened regularly to advance shared interests,” he said.

Navies from the US, India, Australia, Japan and France have been deepening their mutual cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in view of China’s growing attempt to expand military influence in the resource-rich region.

On Monday, a US Navy carrier strike group led by nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz carried out a military drill with a fleet of Indian warships off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Four frontline warships of the Indian Navy participated in the “PASSEX” exercise when the US carrier strike group was transiting through the Indian Ocean Region on its way from the South China Sea.

The USS Nimitz is the world’s largest warship and the exercise between the two navies assumed significance as it took place in the midst of tensions between India and China in eastern Ladakh as well as in China’s military assertiveness in South China Sea.

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