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India and US army chiefs call for free and stable Indo-Pacific as Chinese influence grows

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s army chief on Tuesday said the country was committed to maintaining a free and stable Indo-Pacific, where the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations is respected, as global concern grows over Chinese influence in the region.

General Manoj Pande made the comments at the Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference, hosted by India and the U.S., which is focused on boosting military diplomacy and collaboration as well as promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Army chiefs and delegations from 30 countries are attending the two-day event, which concludes Wednesday.

Pande said that while countries in the region are working toward a free Indo-Pacific, “we are witnessing manifestations of interstate contestations and competition” — a veiled reference to China, which has stepped up its activities in the region.