The Obama administration has described India and China as “very important” global players and said it is engaged in intensive dialogue with the two countries, amid New Delhi’s unease over the reference to Indo-Pak ties in a Sino-U.S. joint statement.

“India and China are two rising powers, very important players on the global scene,” State Department Deputy Spokesman, Robert Wood, said at a news briefing on Friday.

The United States would be dealing very closely with India and China in coming years, he said. “They’re key (players), and our relationships with both are growing.”

Mr. Wood’s comments came two days after India strongly reacted to the references to the Indo-Pak ties in a Sino-U.S. joint statement issued during President Barack Obama’s China visit and made it clear that it would not brook any third party role in bilateral matters.

“A third country role cannot be envisaged nor is it necessary,” the External Affairs Ministry spokesman said New Delhi in a terse comment on the statement

Both Mr. Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao had voiced support for improvement in Indo-Pak ties and their readiness to promote peace and stability in the region, listing the situation in South Asia among regional and global challenges.

Observing that the U.S. is engaged in intensive dialogue with both countries, Mr. Wood said: “I think both countries also realise the importance of the Indo—Sino relationship, and to work towards improving that not only for regional stability, but for global stability as well.”

However, the Deputy Spokesman refrained from making any comment on India getting a place in the UN Security Council, where China along with the US, Britain, France and Russia is a permanent member.

Responding to a question, Mr. Wood said the U.S. does have its concerns with China, which it has raised with the Chinese authorities.

“We have raised them when appropriate, and at all levels of our interaction. Hopefully, China will move in the direction that we’d like to see it go,” he said.

The U.S. and China have often differed on the issue of human rights and Washington has been raising it with the Chinese authorities along with its other concerns.

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