Blinken meets PM Modi, Ajit Doval, and Representative Of Dalai Lama
India and United States on Wednesday reaffirmed that they are committed to strengthen democratic institutions and share the same values of fundamental freedom and rule of law. Stressing this point hereafter talks between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, both the leaders also said they were focused on finding a peaceful solution to the ongoing Afghanistan conflict. The two ministers held wide-ranging parleys covering the situation in Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific engagements, COVID-19 response mechanism, and ways to strengthen regional security. Blinken also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.
Addressing a joint media conference after extensive discussions, Blinken underlined that there are few relationships in the world that are more vital than the one between the US and India. At the same time, he said as the world’s leading democracies, “we take seriously our responsibilities” towards freedom, equality, and opportunity to all of “our people.” He also said both the democracies are “work in progress.” His observations came days after US acting assistant secretary for South and Central Asian affairs Dean Thompson said last week Blinken will raise issues of human rights and democracy during his visit to New Delhi.
Secretary Blinken conveyed greetings of President Biden and Vice President Harris to the Prime Minister.
Reacting to this, India had said it is prepared to engage with the US on issues relating to human rights and democracy. Moreover, following Thompson’s comments, sources had said India is proud of its achievements in upholding democratic values and human rights and it is open to engaging with those who recognize diversity. The issue of the Coronavirus pandemic was naturally a particular priority, Jaishankar said adding the two leaders discussed travel challenges resulting from Covid.
Elaborating upon the talks, he said India and the US reviewed the situation in Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific, and the Gulf region. On Afghanistan, Jaishankar said the world wishes to see an independent, sovereign, democratic and stable Afghanistan. He also said India and the US are of the same view that the ongoing conflict can only be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means and not on the “battlefield.”
Referring to Afghanistan, Blinken said both India and the US are committed to the proposition that there is no military solution to the conflict in that country. India “has and will” continue to make a vital contribution to Afghanistan’s stability and development, he added.
During his hour-long meeting with Doval, Blinken discussed bilateral and regional issues with a focus on taking the ties between the two nations to the “next level“. They reviewed the situation in Afghanistan as well as the Indo-Pacific engagement, sources said. Also, both sides discussed strategic issues of importance in security, defense, economic and technology-related sectors, adding special attention was given to long-term measures to take the relationship to the next level.
“Secretary Blinken conveyed greetings of President Biden and Vice President Harris to the Prime Minister. He briefed Prime Minister on his fruitful exchanges with EAM and NSA earlier in the day and expressed a strong commitment to further deepen India-US strategic relations in various sectors including defense, maritime security, trade & investment, climate change, and science & technology. Prime Minister conveyed his warm greetings to President Biden and Vice President Harris and his appreciation for the initiatives taken by President Biden including those related to the QUAD, COVID-19, and Climate Change.
“Secretary Blinken appreciated the increasing convergence between India and US on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues, and the commitment of both strategic partners to convert this convergence into concrete and practical cooperation,” said Prime Minister’s Office in a statement.
In a subtle message to China, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Wednesday met a representative of the Dalai Lama. This meeting was a major interaction of the US with the Tibetans in exile since the Dalai Lama met the then-President Barack Obama in Washington in 2016. Blinken met briefly with Ngodup Dongchung, who serves as a representative of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also known as the Tibetan government in exile. A US State Department spokesperson said, “Secretary Blinken had an opportunity to meet briefly this morning in New Delhi with a representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
This meeting may irk China as some days back US defense secretary Lloyd Austin had said China was working against the shared principles and interests of the US and its partners across the Indo-Pacific.
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