United States of America does not agree with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi‘s claim that China and Pakistan are closer than ever because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s ineffectual policies, according to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Price was responding to a query about Gandhi’s remarks made in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

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“Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, he made a remark in the Indian parliament today suggesting – saying, stating that it is due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ineffective foreign policies that Pakistan and China are closer than ever. Does the State Department agree with that assessment?” a reporter asked Price.

“I will leave it to the Pakistanis and the People’s Republic of China to speak to their relationship. I certainly would not endorse those remarks,” he replied.

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Price was also asked if Pakistan and China have grown closer as a result of feeling abandoned by the US.

“We’ve made the point all along that it is not a requirement for any country around the world to choose between the United States and China. It is our intention to provide choices to countries when it comes to what the relationship with the United States looks like. And we think partnership with the United States conveys a series of advantages that countries typically would not find when it comes to the sorts of partnerships that – “partnerships” may be the wrong term; the sorts of relationships that the PRC has seeked to – has sought to have around the world,” he replied.

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“Pakistan is a strategic partner of the United States. We have an important relationship with the government in Islamabad, and it’s a relationship that we value across a number of fronts,” added the spokesperson.

In recent years, Pakistan’s relationship with China has strengthened significantly, with China investing billions of dollars in the important Gwadar Port in Balochistan region. Following a failed US-led withdrawal of Western forces from Kabul in August 2021, the two countries were among the few to urge for international engagement with the Taliban administration in Afghanistan.