Washington, January 30
Secretary of State Tony Blinken has underscored India’s role as a pre-eminent US partner in the Indo-Pacific during his maiden telephonic conversation with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and discussed ways to better seize the new opportunities and combat shared challenges in the region and beyond.
It was Blinken’s first telephonic conversation with Jaishankar after he assumed the charge as America’s top diplomat early this week.
They discussed issues of mutual concern, including Covid vaccination efforts, regional developments and next steps in expanding bilateral ties, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday.
Blinken underscored India’s role as a pre-eminent US partner in the Indo-Pacific and the importance of working together to expand the regional cooperation, including through the Quad, Price said.
“Both agreed to coordinate closely on global developments and look forward to meeting in person at the earliest opportunity,” Price said in a readout of the call, which was the first communication between them after January 20 when Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
“I was delighted to speak today with my good friend @DrSJaishankar to discuss US-India priorities. We reaffirmed the importance of the US-India relationship and discussed ways we can better seize new opportunities and combat shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” Blinken wrote on Twitter.
In New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry said Jaishankar and Blinken expressed their commitment to consolidating and expanding the multi-faceted strategic partnership.
“They appreciated the robust defence and security ties, growing economic engagement, productive health-care collaboration and strong people-to-people linkages as its important pillars,” it said in a press release.
Recognising the challenges of a post-Covid world, the two leaders agreed to work together to address global issues, including safe and affordable vaccine supply. They also reiterated their commitment to peace and security, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, the release said.
After assuming charge at the State Department, Blinken has spoken to his counterparts from over a dozen countries, including Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Israel and South Africa. PTI