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Asian NATO? US Trying to Drag India Into Bloc Rivalry

© AFP 2023 BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIIndia's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with France's President Emmanuel Macron
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with France's President Emmanuel Macron  - Sputnik India, 1920, 05.07.2024
For years, the US has tried to force India to unfollow its independent foreign policy and bring it into the ambit of the Western bloc, a proposition New Delhi has repeatedly denied.
Is an Asian NATO in the works? While US Ambassador in India Eric Garcetti has denied the presence of the powerful North Atlantic military bloc in the South Asian nation, he did admit that America and its allies were keen to develop close defense ties with New Delhi to keep the 'Indo-Pacific secure, free, and open'.
"There is no NATO presence in India, and I'm not aware of a request for one," Garcetti said in an interview with the Hindu newspaper.
However, he stressed that NATO member states want to establish robust military relations with India.

"It is in our global interest to see that the Indo-Pacific remains secure and that India is a leader in the region," Garcetti noted.

Last year, a US House panel recommended Washington make efforts to bring the world's largest democratic state into the "NATO-Plus" framework, a proposal quickly rejected by India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
"NATO template does not apply to India," India's top diplomat had said in May 2023.
It must be noted NATO itself was created against the erstwhile Soviet Union — Russia's predecessor and India's close friend before its disintegration in 1991.
Interestingly, Garcetti's remarks come days ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Moscow where he will hold one-to-one discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Among the topics expected to be discussed between the two leaders is expanding the scope of the India-Russia defense partnership, including a deal for the co-development of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).
Besides, collaboration on nuclear energy, where Russia has been India's close partner for several years, could see some movement during Modi's July 8-9 trip to the Eurasian state.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly. - Sputnik India, 1920, 29.02.2024
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