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Antony Blinken says he had a productive meeting with S Jaishankar; discussed Covid-19, the border situation between India and China and Afghanistan | India News


WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he had a productive meeting with visiting Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, during which they discussed bilateral ties, Covid-19 relief efforts, the situation. border between India and China and Afghanistan and promised to work together to address areas of common interest.
Jaishankar, the first Indian cabinet minister to visit the United States since Joe Biden became president on January 20, met with Blinken on Friday.
“Blinken welcomed Jaishankar to the state department, where he reaffirmed the US administration’s commitment to deepen the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership between the United States and India,” said state department spokesman Ned Price after the meeting.
“Productive discussion today with Dr. S Jaishankar on regional security and economic priorities to include the US Covid-19 relief efforts, the India-China border situation and our support for Afghanistan,” Blinken said.
“As friends, we will work together to address these areas of shared concern,” Blinken said in a tweet hours after meeting with Jaishankar at the state department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters.
It has been more than a year since the military confrontation between India and China broke out in eastern Ladakh on May 5, 2020 during which there were deaths on both sides for the first time in 45 years. They have made limited progress in achieving disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, while negotiations for similar steps at other sticking points remained stalled.
In his tweet, Jaishankar said he had a “productive discussion” with Blinken on various aspects of bilateral cooperation, as well as regional and global issues.
“It covered the Indo-Pacific and the Quad, Afghanistan, Myanmar, UNSC affairs and other international organizations,” he said.
“He also focused on the Indo-US vaccine partnership. Aimed at expanding access and ensuring supply. I appreciate the strong solidarity expressed by the US at this time. Today’s talks have further solidified our strategic partnership. and expanded our cooperation agenda, “said Jaishankar.
In an interaction with a group of Indian reporters, responding to a question, Jaishankar did not mention whether China in particular was discussed.
“Our discussion was about the entire Indo-Pacific region. The discussion was about security issues in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
India, the United States, and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific in the context of China’s increasing military maneuvers and aggressions in the region.
The Chinese military is also actively studying the strategic Indian Ocean region to intensify Beijing’s influence.
China claims almost the entire disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
In 2017, India, Australia, Japan, and the US shaped the long-pending proposal to establish the ‘Quad’ or Quadrilateral coalition to counter China’s aggressive behavior in the Indo-Pacific region.
Noting that the United States is India’s strategic partner and has a strong relationship with it, Jaishankar said that it is natural for the two countries to discuss their challenges. The talks at the ministerial level are basically at the evaluation level, he said.
The issue of the S-400, a multi-billion dollar missile system that India plans to buy from Russia, was not raised at any of the meetings, he said.
Acting Undersecretary of State for South and Central Asia Dean Thompson said there were only discussions about developments on the India-China border.
“I am not going to characterize the discussions beyond that, other than to say that we continue to watch the situation very closely and hope that everything can be resolved peacefully as things progress,” he said.
According to the state department, the leaders discussed a wide range of topics, including relief from Covid-19, efforts to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Quad, and a shared commitment to combat the climate crisis and enhance cooperation. multilateral, even at the UN. Security Council.
“Blinken and Jaishankar also discussed regional developments, the coup in Burma (Myanmar) and continued support for Afghanistan,” Price said, adding that the two leaders pledged to continue their cooperation on shared regional and economic security priorities.
Thompson previously told reporters that the meeting demonstrated “our deep commitment to the association and to its strengthening in the years to come.”
“Today’s meeting between Blinken and Jaishankar, one of the first in-person visits we have had in Washington since the beginning of the pandemic, showed the breadth and depth of our relationship with India, which we consider to be one of the most important partnerships. in the region and the world ”, he said.

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