New Delhi: The United States has pledged to continue cooperating with India on shared healthcare, economic and regional security priorities and deepen the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership between the two countries.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday met Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Sec Lloyd Austin in Washington and had “productive” conversations on various aspects of bilateral relation that focused on vaccine partnership aimed at expanding access and ensuring supply.
This was the first cabinet-level visit from India to the new Biden administration and Jaishankar also met National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Intelligence Director Avril Haines and Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
“Today’s talks have further solidified our strategic partnership and enlarged our agenda of cooperation,” the EAM tweeted after the discussions that, he said, covered various aspects of bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global issues, such as Indo Pacific and the Quad, Afghanistan, Myanmar, UN Security Council matters and other international organizations.
Blinken also said he and Jaishankar discussed regional security and economic priorities to include US COVID-19 relief efforts, India-China border situation and Afghanistan.
“As friends, we will work together to address these areas of shared concern,” said Blinken.
A state Department statement said Blinken “reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to deepening the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.”
Secretary Blinken and Minister Jaishankar discussed a broad range of issues, including COVID-19 relief, efforts to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Quad, and a shared commitment to combating the climate crisis and enhancing multilateral cooperation, including at the UN Security Council.
Ahead of the talks, Blinken remarked that US and India are working together on so many of the most important challenges that are having a profound impact on the lives of citizens.
“And we are united in confronting COVID-19 together, we’re united in dealing with the challenge posed by climate change, and we are partnered together directly through the Quad and other institutions at the United Nations in dealing with many of the challenges that we face in the region and around the world.
“The partnership between the United States and India is vital, it’s strong, and I think it’s increasingly productive,” he said.
Jaishankar also said, “I think our relations have grown stronger over the years, and I’m very confident they’ll continue to do so.”
The EAM also had a “warm” meeting with Defence Secretary Austin and the two engaged in a “comprehensive conversation” about further developing our strategic and defence partnership.
Jaishankar said he exchanged views on contemporary security challenges and expressed appreciation of the US military role in responding to the Covid situation.
In the meeting with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Jaishankar reviewed the partnership between the world’s largest democracies.
They welcomed cooperation in recent weeks that resulted in deliveries of over $500 million in COVID-19 relief supplies from the US, and discussed a range of regional and global issues, and agreed that the countries should continue working closely together to address common challenges throughout the Indo-Pacific region, the National Security Council said.
They agreed that people-to-people ties and shared values are the foundation of the US-India strategic partnership that is helping to end the pandemic, supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, and providing global leadership on climate change.
“Our people-to-people ties and our values are the foundation of the US-India partnership and will help us end the pandemic, lead on climate, and support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Sullivan in a tweet.
On talks with DNI Haines, Jaishankar said he looked forward to “working closely together to address contemporary security challenges and advance our strategic partnership.”
The EAM also spoke to Chairman House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks and
co-chairs of House India Caucus, Brad Sherman and Steve Chabot, and discussed cooperation on vaccines and developments pertaining to Quad.
“The US Congress has been a tremendous pillar of support as India meets the Covid challenge,” said Jaishankar, acknowledging the Congressmen’s leadership in building stronger ties.