India-US ties based on foundation of shared values like commitment to democratic principles: MEA

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (PTI) Relations between India and the US are based on a foundation of shared values and common interests, including a commitment towards democratic principles, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.

The MEA's assertion came after the Biden-Harris transition on the president-elect's phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the American leader noted that he looks forward to working closely with the PM on shared global challenges, including 'strengthening democracy at home and abroad'.

Asked at an online briefing about the Biden's reference to strengthening democracy, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, 'During this phone call which took place on November 17 between PM and President-elect Joe Biden, the two leaders affirmed their interest in working together to strengthen the India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership.' They also shared views on working together on shared priorities and global challenges and cooperation in the Indo Pacific region, he said.

'As two mature and vibrant democracies, our relations are based on a foundation of shared values and common interests, including a commitment towards democratic principles,' Srivastava said.

To a separate question on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) inviting India as an observer, he said, 'Our position regarding joining RCEP is very well known. We conveyed are position not to join RCEP as some of the significant issues of core interest remain unresolved.' The RCEP deal sealed on Sunday comprised 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and five of the bloc's dialogue partners -China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Asked about India's cooperation with other countries on COVID-19 vaccine development, Srivastava said authorisation has been given to Dr Reddy's to conduct trials of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in India and depending on the outcome, further steps will be taken by the company in accordance with the regulatory guidelines.

'Talks are ongoing with Pfizer and the Serum Institute is already working on the Oxford vaccine...Since March, India has actively engaged with its partner countries in our joint fight against COVID-19 by supplying medicines, diagnostic kits and medical equipment,' he said.

'We have also organised online training programmes for testing and case management. As our vaccine development programme has progressed, we have made it clear that we stand ready to expand this programme of cooperation with all interested countries,' he said. PTI ASK KJ KJ