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India, US reaffirm their commitment to work towards ensuring free, open & peaceful Indo-Pacific region

India and the US have reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific. They also agreed on the need to deepen cooperation in the United Nations, especially during India’s membership of the United Nations Security Council.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of shared interests during the virtual foreign office consultations between the two countries on Tuesday. They reviewed the entire gamut of engagements under the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, including political, economic, commercial, regional and international cooperation.

In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, they agreed to further strengthen the bilateral health partnership, including on pharmaceuticals and vaccine development. They agreed to remain in touch and move forward on the bilateral agenda through a range of mechanisms like the 22 ministerial that India will host later this year.
 
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale discussed ways to further enhance mutually beneficial trade and people-to-people ties, including through visa facilitation for students and professionals. Sources said the issue of F-1 visa students attending online-only classes in the US was raised during the meeting. They said the US side took note and said they will keep the best interests of the students in mind and try and mitigate impact. Sources also said that detailed implementation guidelines are yet to come out. 

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