With eye on China, Jaishankar, Blinken talk Indo-Pacific, Quad

In their first conversation since Joe Biden assumed charge as the US president, India’s External Affair Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Quad with a view to curbing China’s influence in the region.

The two ministers also underscored their commitment to build further on the ‘solid foundation’ of India-US partnership and take the relationship to new heights.

In his telephonic conversation, Mr Jaishankar congratulated Mr Blinken on his appointment and discussed efforts at combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They appreciated the robust defence and security ties, growing economic engagement, productive health-care collaboration and strong people-to-people linkages between the two nations”, said India’s Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.

“Recognizing the challenges of a post-Covid world, they agreed to work together to address global issues, including safe and affordable vaccine supply”, the statement said.

Mr Blinken highlighted India’s role as a preeminent US partner in the Indo-Pacific and underlined the importance of working together to expand regional cooperation, including through the Quadrilateral grouping which includes the USA, Japan, India and Australia as members. “The emphasis on the Indo-Pacific and Quad in the US readout of the conversation shows that the Biden presidency will up its game in the Indo-Pacific with China on mind,” said Manish Chand, strategic analyst and Editor-in-Chief, India and the World magazine.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval have already held telephonic conversations with their American counterparts and discussed ways to expand security and defence ties.

 

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