Talks have further solidified Indo-U.S. partnership, enlarged agenda of cooperation, says Jaishankar

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Jaishankar, who is on an official trip to the US, held meetings with his counterpart Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The talks between India and the United States have further solidified the strategic partnership and enlarged bilateral agenda of cooperation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.

Mr. Jaishankar, who is on an official trip to the US, held meetings with his counterpart Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“Today’s talks have further solidified our strategic partnership and enlarged our agenda of cooperation,”Mr. Jaishankar said in a tweet after concluding his meetings with Mr. Austin and Mr. Blinken.

“Pleasure to meet Secretary Blinken. A productive discussion on various aspects of our bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global issues. Covered Indo-Pacific and the Quad, Afghanistan, Myanmar, UNSC matters and other international organizations,” he said.

The Minister said they also focused on Indo-US vaccine partnership aimed at expanding access and ensuring supply.

“Appreciated strong solidarity expressed by US at this time,” he said.

Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Dean Thompson, in a conference call with reporters, said Mr. Jaishankar’s visit showcased the breadth and depth of the relationship with India, which the US administration views as one of the most important partnerships in the region and the world.

“Today’s meeting between Secretary Blinken and Minister Jaishankar demonstrates our deep commitment to the partnership and to strengthening it in the years to come,” he said.

The latest COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Thompson said, has only strengthened the commitment to working together on COVID response, which will be essential to helping the world recover from the pandemic. Expanding to production of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority for both the United States and India, he said.

“Together with our QUAD partners Japan and Australia., we are continuing to identify options for cooperation in the areas of vaccine manufacturing capacity in India, as well as COVID-19 vaccine administration and delivery across the Indo-Pacific region,” he said, adding that the meeting also had conversation on global vaccine distribution and addressing worldwide shortages of critical inputs for vaccine production.

“The United States and India have also strengthened our cooperation in the region. Over the course of the past year, we have worked together to address a range of regional issues such as China, Burma and Afghanistan. On China, we shared concerns about Southern China’s problematic activities in the region, and it becomes increasingly like minded on these issues,” Mr. Thompson said.

On the military coup in Burma, the U.S. and India have called for an end to the violence, urged the release of political prisoners, and called for the restoration of democracy.

“On Afghanistan, we have long shared the view that a ‘peaceful, stable Afghanistan’ is in our mutual interest. We need to continue working together and with the region to press for political settlements and the conflict there. We are also pleased with the scope of our QUAD cooperation, building on the historic leader level summit earlier this year,” the Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs added.

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