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US partnership with India vital in Indo-Pacific: American Commander

NEW DELHI (PTI): The United States' partnership with India is vital in the Indo-Pacific and the teamwork helps provide security throughout the region, a senior American commander said on Thursday.

Commander of US Special Operations Command, Gen. Richard D Clarke, is on a three-day visit to India.

On Thursday, he held talks with Indian Army Chief Gen MM Naravane and other senior military officials, covering various key aspects of growing defence and security cooperation between the two countries.

"Our partnership with India is vital in the Indo-Pacific, and our teamwork helps provide security throughout the region," Gen. Clarke said.

"Whether we're training together in exercises, or cooperating in many other areas, our relationship with India is strong and continues to grow. I want to thank the Indian defence team for their leadership, friendship, and commitment to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region," he said, according to the US embassy.

The Indian Army said Gen. Clarke's visit will enhance defence cooperation and military ties between the two nations.

"General Richard D. Clarke, Commander United States Special Operations Command #USSOCOM called on General MM Naravane #COAS and discussed issues of mutual interest," the Army tweeted.

Gen. Clarke began the visit by honouring India's fallen service members by laying a wreath at the National War Memorial.

"We are proud to recognise the efforts of all those who've fought and defended India," Gen. Clarke said.

"Laying this wreath reminds us of what our respective countries have given to protect our ways of life. We thank India's service members who've made the ultimate sacrifice and we appreciate the work of all those who protect India today," he said.

In a statement, the embassy said Gen. Clarke met with Indian defence officials.

"They discussed ways India and the United States can continue working together to improve defence partnerships and grow interoperability," it said.

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