External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday held wide-ranging talks with his US counterpart Antony Blinken and thanked the Biden administration for its "strong support and solidarity" with India at a moment of "great difficulty" for the country in combating the deadly Covid-19 pandemic
Jaishankar, who is on an official trip to the US, is the first Indian Cabinet minister to visit the country since Joe Biden became US President on January 20.
Welcoming Jaishankar to the State Department, Blinken said in the early days of Covid-19, India was there for the US, something which the country "will never forget".
"Now we want to make sure that we are there for and with India," he said.
Addressing reporters at the State Department in a joint media interaction before the two leaders headed for the meeting, Jaishankar said, "We’ve a lot of issues to discuss. I think our relations have grown stronger over the years and I’m very confident that it’ll continue to do so."
“I also want to take the opportunity to express to the Secretary, through him to the administration, (and) to the United States for the strong support and solidarity and at the moment of great difficulty (for us),” he said.
Blinken said the US and India are working together on many important challenges of "our time".
"We are united in confronting Covid-19 together…We are united in dealing with the challenge posed by climate change and we are partnered together directly through the QUAD and other institutions in the United Nations in dealing with many of the challenges that we face in the region,” he said.
The Quad is a grouping of the US, India, Japan and Australia that aims at strengthening a rules-based order in the strategically-important Indo-Pacific amidst China’s aggressive actions in the region.
"The partnership between the US and India is vital, strong, and I think it is increasingly productive," Blinken added.
Jaishankar is also the only third foreign minister to have visited the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department to meet his US counterpart Blinken. The other two were Jordan’s Ayman Safadi and Columbia’s Foreign Minister-Designate Marta Lucia Ramirez, who met Blinken earlier in the day.
Report by Chetali S M
Reported on – 29/05/2021