Regional security issues including Afghanistan, ways to boost Indo-Pacific engagement and enhancing COVID-19 response efforts among others were the issues that were discussed extensively between India and the US on Wednesday.
The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar held wide ranging talks in New Delhi at a time when critical global and regional challenges need to be addressed.
In his opening statement Dr Jaishankar told the media persons that “The India-US bilateral ties have enhanced to a level that enables the two nations to deal collaboratively with larger issues.”
The external affairs minister in his opening statement during the joint press conference thanked the Joe Biden administration for keeping the supply chains open during the global pandemic. He acknowledged the responsiveness of the Biden administration to keeping the raw material supply chains open for vaccine production in India.
In his address at the joint press conference at the end of the meeting, US Secretary of State Blinken said “President Biden’s determination is to continue to grow stronger the relationship between the US and India.”
He also stressed that the Quad Security Dialogue is not a military alliance.
What is Quad?
In his opening statement he stated that the QUAD is a body of four like minded countries that have come together to work on important issues which will have impact on the lives of the people and also to do this in a way that will ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
He rejected the view that the QUAD is a military alliance. According to him the purpose of the QUAD is to reinforce international rules and values, stability and security in the region.
Speaking about the shared values that strengthen the relationship between the two countries, the US Secretary of State told the media persons “We view India as a force for good in defence of free, open Indo-Pacific.’’
Today’s meeting in New Delhi took place amid US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. This was the issue that was discussed at great lengths between the two sides.
Responding to media queries Secretary Blinken on Afghanistan said that there can be no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict. “Taliban and Afghan government have to come to the table for talks and the future government has to be inclusive and fully representative.”
The top US diplomat said that the two sides discussed regional security issues including Afghanistan, echoing Jaishankar’s remark that there was much more convergence on the matter of Afghanistan than divergence. And stressed that each side is committed to the proposition that there’s no military solution to the conflict.
Meeting with the National Security Advisor:
On Wednesday the visiting Secretary of State had talks with the NSA Ajit Doval on issues of strategic importance in security, defence and technology related sectors. During the one hour long meeting the two also discussed identifying long term measures to take the India-US relationship to the next level.
According to sources the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, as well Indo-Pacific engagement and other related issues were discussed.
Meeting with Civil Society Leaders
Mr Blinken had also had a meeting with a group of civil society leaders in New Delhi and he termed the Indo-US relationship as one of the most important partnerships in the world.
In his remarks at the meeting he stated that the two countries share a commitment to democratic values, which is the bedrock of the bilateral relationship.
The visiting top leader also asserted that all people deserve to be treated with respect no matter who they are and they have a voice in their government.
Direct Message to China
In a direct message to China, according to a State Department Spokesperson, the US Secretary also met with Representative of the Dalai Lama in India. This move is likely to provoke anger in China.
According to the spokesperson, he had a brief meeting with Ngodup Dongchung, who serves as a representative of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
Secretary Blinken also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi before leaving for Kuwait as part of his two-nation tour.