U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi yesterday. During the interaction, the Indian Prime Minister reiterated the fact that the US and India share a deep commitment to the values of democracy, freedom and liberty.
Mr. Modi said, the Indian diaspora in the US has contributed immensely to the enhancement of bilateral ties. The Prime Minister envisioned that the Strategic Partnership between the two great democracies will be of much greater global significance in the coming years, in the context of the challenges posed by COVID-19, global economic recovery and climate change.
During the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Mr. Blinken conveyed the warm greetings of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the Prime Minister.
He briefed Prime Minister on his fruitful exchanges with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval earlier in the day. Mr Blinken expressed strong commitment to further deepen India US strategic relations in various sectors including defence, maritime security, trade and investment, climate change and science and technology. He appreciated the increasing convergence between India and US on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues, and the commitment of both strategic partners to convert this convergence into concrete and practical cooperation.
Prime Minister Modi also conveyed his warm greetings to President Biden and Vice President Harris and his appreciation for the initiatives taken by the US President including those related to the Quad, COVID-19 and Climate Change.
Meanwhile the US has announced an additional 25 million dollars to support India’s COVID-19 vaccination program. In a tweet, Mr Blinken said that the United States’ support will help save lives by strengthening vaccine supply chains across India.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting yesterday.
In his opening remarks, Dr Jaishankar highlighted that India-US cooperation covers virtually all domains of contemporary relevance. 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, apart from other issues.
The US Secretary of State said, President Biden’s determination is to strengthen the time-tested 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.
Later in a media briefing, Dr Jaishankar said, the meeting with Secretary Blinken takes place at an important juncture when key global, regional challenges need to be effectively addressed. He acknowledged the responsiveness of the 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 the US.
On a media query on Chinese criticism of Quad, Dr Jaishankar said, groups of countries working together is not strange and BRICS is one such example.
Mr Blinken said, Defence Secy Austin and he look forward to hosting the Indian counterparts later this year for the 2+2 dialogue. The US Secretary of State said, India and US share strong interest in peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan.
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.
Replying to a question on QUAD, Mr Blinken 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, and stability in the region.
The US Secretary of State said, that the US views 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.