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Need to build guidelines and if required, red lines for Indo-Pacific: Outgoing US Envoy

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New Delhi, Jan 05: Emphasising the need to build guidelines and if necessary, "red lines" for the Info-Pacific region, outgoing US Ambassador to India Ken Juster said on Tuesday that such an endeavor would enable all countries in the region to prosper.

In his farewell policy speech here, Juster said the Indo-Pacific region needs stability and democratic governance, and that is why India is important.

Outgoing US Ambassador to India Ken Juster

He also asserted that no bilateral relations in the world are as broad and of such substance than the one between India and the US.

Juster was appointed by the US president on November 3, 2017, to be the 25th United States ambassador to India.

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Underlining the importance of the Info-Pacific in US-India ties, Juster said, "We are now building out the foundation of a stronger Indo-Pacific architecture that will enable us to tackle the challenges that lie ahead."

"Our mission over the next five years and beyond should be to give this endeavour further form and substance to develop guidelines and if necessary, even red lines. This should enable all countries to prosper in a region that respects sovereignty, a rules based order and a peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law," he said.

Juster said as democracies, the US and India are committed to a rules based order as well as to peace and diplomacy.

"We (US and India) are both influenced by the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. But we know that not everyone thinks as we do and some choose suicide vests or military incursions. That is why the US is committed to strengthening our defence and security cooperation," he said without naming any country.

"While the concept of the Indo-Pacific has been many years in the making, it isin the pastfouryears thatour countries have shown the ambition to turn it into a reality. In 2017, President Trump described the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific as one where "sovereign and independent nations, with diverse cultures and many different dreams, can allprosper side-by-side, and thrive in freedom and in peace."And at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018, Prime Minister Modi presented India's vision ofa "free, open, inclusive"Indo-Pacificregion," he said.

"The Indo-Pacific is particularly significant for the U.S.-India relationship because itrecognizes the reality that India and the Indian Oceanare inextricably tied to East Asia and the Pacific. India's expanding economy is likely to become an increasingly important driver of growth for the region, while trade and investment among Indo-Pacific nations -including the United States -will continue to provide a major impetus for India's growth," he added.

For the U.S.-India relationship, the Indo-Pacific means that, at a time of greatchange andchallenge,we seeIndia as a critical partner in preserving and expanding the peace and prosperity that have underpinned this dynamic region.

On Defense and Counterterrorism, the envoy said "Our bilateraldefense and securitypartnershipreached a new level in 2018 with the inaugural2+2 Ministerial Dialogue-acabinet-level meeting among U.S. and Indian defense and foreign policy leaders. This important step reflected our increasingly close defense ties and provided a framework for coordinatingand expandingourjoint activities to preserve peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific."

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