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In India, Top US Diplomat Calls China ‘Elephant in the Room’
n October 12, a top U.S. envoy called China “an elephant in the room” and said Washington is keen to advance India’s interests across the Indo-Pacific region. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said the United States was exploring ways to empower India without altering what he called New Delhi’s “strong and proud tradition of strategic autonomy.” Biegun spoke in New Delhi at the opening session of the India-U.S. Forum after his three-day visit to India kicked off on October 12. He said: “India has a strong and proud tradition of strategic autonomy, and we respect that. We do not seek to change India’s traditions. Rather we want to explore how to empower them and India’s ability to defend its own sovereignty and democracy and to advance Indian interests, across the Indo-Pacific region.” In that direction, Washington has increased its foreign military sales and intelligence sharing with India, the number two U.S. diplomat said.