Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin assured India that the US will continue to stand by it in the face of threats from China
India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met on Monday (April 11) and exchanged views on the current global situation and discussed bilateral cooperation.
Jaishankar and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are in the United States for the India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue which was held on Monday.
Taking to his Twitter account, Jaishankar wrote: “Began the day with a breakfast meeting with @SecBlinken. Wide ranging exchange of views on the global situation, regional hotspots and bilateral cooperation. Took place with the comfort and openness of true strategic partners.”
Jaishankar said that the 2+2 Dialogue would enable both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to foreign policy.
The talks will also strengthen defence and security with the objective of providing strategic guidance and a vision for further consolidating the relationship.
“The 2+2 Dialogue will also provide an opportunity to exchange views about important regional and global developments and how we can work together to address issues of common interest and concern,” he said.
This 2+2 ministerial dialogue between India and US is the first under the Biden administration being hosted by Blinken and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.
Meanwhile, Blinken said, “These 2+2 meetings have already played a key role in strengthening our bilateral relationship…Today’s discussions will build upon previous productive meetings that we’ve had. It’s a momentous moment in global affairs.”
Blinken added, “Today, we’ll discuss pressing issues, shared global challenges – incl Russia’s war against Ukraine, ending COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, upholding a free, open democratic, secure & prosperous Indo-Pacific Region.”
US Will Stand By India
Austin assured India that the US will continue to stand by it in the face of threats from China. He said, “Beijing is eroding the security of the Indo-Pacific region from its construction of dual-use infrastructure along your border to its unlawful claims in the South China Sea, and we will continue to stand alongside you as you defend your sovereign interest.”
Austin hailed the India-US 2+2 dialogue and said that they were meeting “at a critical moment in the US-India defence partnership”.
He said: “Our partnership is based on a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, one grounded in principles such as the rule of law and national sovereignty. We`re facing urgent and mounting challenges to this shared vision.”
“China is attempting to challenge and undermine the sovereignty of its neighbours,” he said.
Rajnath Singh, who was greeted by an honour guard at the Pentagon, did not mention China or Russia in his response, which was in Hindi with English language interpretation.
He said that “our visit here shall take India-US comprehensive strategic partnership to the next level”.
He added, “Major defence partnership is one of the most important pillars of India-US strategic relations. India has critical roles to play in Indian Ocean Region & wider Indo-Pacific following Act East and Neighbourhood First policies.”
Modi-Biden Virtual Meet
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden discussed Ukraine during the virtual meet on Monday. The two leaders had an extensive exchange of views on several regional and global issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic recovery, climate action, recent developments in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, and the situation in Ukraine.