External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting today in New Delhi.
In his opening remarks, Dr Jaishankar highlighted that India-US cooperation covers virtually all domains of contemporary relevance. He also spoke about the shared interests, similar concerns and strong convergences. Cooperation against the Covid pandemic was also highlighted by the External Affairs Minister.
He also spoke on striving for peace and prosperity in Indo-Pacific, working for democratic stability in Afghanistan, deepening the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue Quad and working even closer on contemporary challenges and conversations on global issues based on real exchanges of national experiences and historical perspectives.
The US Secretary of State said, President Biden’s determination is to continue to grow stronger the relationship between India and the US. He deeply appreciated the work that both countries have been able to do together and the work that both are going to do together in coming months.
Mr Blinken said, there is not a challenge that does not have impact on lives of our citizens whether it’s COVID, disruptive impact of emerging technologies, that can be addressed by any one of us acting alone. He said, there is greater imperative on cooperation among countries than ever before.
Later in a media briefing, Dr Jaishankar said, the meeting with Secretary Blinken takes place at important juncture when key global, regional challenges need to be effectively addressed. He said, in the discussions today, both sides focused on expanding vaccine production to make it globally affordable and accessible. He acknowledged responsiveness of Biden administration to keeping the raw material supply chains open for vaccine production in India and thanked for the support India received during COVID second wave from US.
He said, the support was truly exceptional. The External Affairs Minister said, the bilateral ties have enhanced to a level that enables both sides to deal collaboratively with larger issues. On a media query on Chinese criticism to Quad, Dr Jaishankar said, groups of countries working together is not strange and BRICS is one such example.
Mr Blinken said, Our bilateral ties enhanced to a level that enables us to deal collaboratively with larger issue. He said, Defence Secy Austin and he look forward to hosting the Indian counterparts later this year for the 2+2 dialogue. He said, both sides discussed regional security issues including Afghanistan. The US Secretary of State said, India and US share strong interest in peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan.
He said, as a credible partner in the region, India has and will continue to make vital contribution to Afghanistan’s stability and development. Mr Blinken said, even as US withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, it remain engaged in Afghanistan. He said, it will have not only a strong embassy there but also have important programmes that support the country economically through development and security assistance.
The US Secretary of State said, US is very much engaged in the diplomacy of working to bring parties together at the table for the resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan. He said, the Taliban is making advances in district centres and there are reports of them committing atrocities in Afghanistan. It’s deeply troubling and it certainly doesn’t speak well about their intention for the country. He said, US remain engaged in Afghanistan.
Replying to a question on QUAD, Mr Blinken said, four like-minded countries coming together to work on some of the most important issues of time that are going to have real impact on the lives of the people and do in a way that ensures a free and open Indo-Pacific. He said, Quad is not a military alliance. Its purpose is to advance cooperation on regional challenges while reinforcing international rules and values that we believe together underpin peace, prosperity, stability in the region.
Mr Blinken said, our shared values strengthen the US and India relationship. He said, like our own, India’s democracy is powered by its free thinking citizens. The US Secretary of State said, we view Indian democracy as a force for good in defence of a free and open Indo-Pacific and a free and open world.
Mr Blinken also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Both sides discussed strategic issues of importance in security, defence, economic and technology-related sectors. Special attention was on long term measures to take the relationship to the next level. Views were also exchanged on contemporary and futuristic issues related to Regional and Global Security.
He will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi today evening.