(Asian News Hub) – In the face of China’s aggressive actions against India, the US will stand with New Delhi, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
‘We are concerned by Beijing’s pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours. As always, we’ll stand with friends, we’ll stand with partners, we’ll stand with allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in, in this case, the Indo-Pacific,’ Price said on Tuesday during a press briefing.
Asked about the new administration’s position on China’s growing aggressiveness towards India, Price said that the US is monitoring the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where China has intruded on Indian territory, leading to clashes between the militaries of the two countries.
‘We note the ongoing talks between the governments of India and China, and we continue to support direct dialogue and a peaceful resolution of those border disputes,’ he said.
Price stressed the importance of cooperation between India and the US in the Indo-Pacific region, an area that has seen aggressive actions by China against countries there.
‘India is one of the most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region to us. We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and its role as a net security provider in the region.’
Price was asked whether Secretary of State Antony Blinken had brought up the human rights issues over which several Democratic Party leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Indian-American House of Representatives member Pramila Jayapal, have raised concerns.
Without giving a direct response, the spokesman said: ‘What I can say, and this applies not only to India but to every partner of ours across the board, we are committed to supporting democratic values, including a free and open civil society and the strong rule of law.
‘We regularly engage with the government of India, including, as you referenced and I alluded to, today, on our shared commitment to democratic values. We believe it’s the bedrock for the US-India relationship. And it’s actually in keeping, as you know, with India’s own democratic values, its pluralistic values, and its history of tolerance. So we regularly engage with our Indian counterparts.’
About the India-US relations, Price said: ‘We cooperate on a wide range of diplomatic and security issues, including defence, non-proliferation, regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, counterterrorism, peacekeeping, the environment, health, education, technology, agriculture, space, and oceans.’
He also noted that the US, India’s largest trading partner with a total bilateral trade increasing to $146 billion in 2019, and American companies were an important source of investments.
I would just highlight the people-to-people ties, the broad and important people-to-people ties.
Across this country, nearly 4 million Indian-Americans call the US home, contributing in their communities and proudly serving their country in uniform,’ he added.
Erica Robin becomes first ever Miss Universe Pakistan
Erica Robin, a model from Karachi has been crowned “Miss Universe Pakistan 2023”, becoming the first-ever woman from the country to win the title.
Four other models from different parts of the country participated in the beauty pageant, including Hira Inam from Lahore, Jessical Wilson from Rawalpindi, Pakistani-American Malika Alvi from Pennsylvania, and Sabrina Wasim. Jessica Wilson, a 28-year-old cyber security engineer was named first runner-up while Hira Inam (24), Malyka Alvi (19), and Sabrina Wasim (26) were the rest of the finalists.
Award-winning actress, mental health advocate, and former Miss International Kylie Verzosa from the Philippines was one of the distinguished panel of judges who picked the winner.
Robin will be the official representative of Pakistan at the Miss Universe pageant, scheduled to be held in El Salvador later this year. Pakistan will be sending five models to compete in the prestigious Miss Universe pageant. This landmark moment marks the first time Pakistan has ever been represented in the world’s most esteemed beauty competition.
Morocco earthquake: Death toll surpasses 2000
According to state TV, the number of fatalities following a strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Morocco on Friday night has surpassed 2,000. The death toll makes it the deadliest earthquake to strike the nation of North Africa in decades.
Rescue teams are reportedly struggling to reach the most affected areas, with roads blocked by debris. One witness said “we are hoping for miracles from the rubble,” CNN reported.
The epicenter was in the High Atlas mountains, about 72 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech, a popular tourist city of about 840,000 people. The city’s historic walls, first laid out in the early 12th century, have been damaged.
The quake was the most powerful to shake the area surrounding Marrakech in more than 120 years, according to the US Geological Survey.
Powerful earthquake in Morocco kills more than 800 people
More than 800 people were killed and hundreds were injured in a massive earthquake that struck Morocco. It was the deadliest tremor to hit the country in more than 60 years, and it destroyed homes in isolated mountain towns while rescue workers searched through the debris for survivors, reuters reported.
As per reuters, a magnitude 7.2 quake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains late on Friday night. The Interior Ministry said 820 people had been killed and another 672 injured.
Most of the fatalities are in mountainous areas outside Marrakech, the nearest city to the epicentre, its updated toll showed.
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