West Asia ‘big concern’ as Jaishankar, Blinken hold talks ahead of ‘2+2’ dialogue
Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin will join S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh for the 5th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday met external affairs minister S Jaishankar ahead of the annual "two-plus-two" talks. Jaishankar highlighted the importance of Blinken's visit, emphasizing the need to follow up on the visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and US President Joe Biden in September.
Jaishankar said, "This visit has a particular significance because we need to follow up on PM Modi's June visit and President Biden's September visit. This is a 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, so we take a broader view of what we are doing."
He underscored the comprehensive nature of the discussions, particularly the Indo-Pacific as members of the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) and ongoing conflict in West Asia, calling it a “big concern”.
Jaishankar also conveyed his gratitude to the United States government and President Biden for their instrumental support during the recently concluded G20 Summit in September.
"We had a very successful G20 Summit in September, and I do want to thank you, the US government, and President Biden on behalf of Prime Minister Modi, because I think without the strong support which the US gave us, I don't think we would have got the consensus and the outcomes that we did," said Jaishankar.
Blinken expressed his pleasure at being in India and stressed the strengthening of ties between the two nations. "It is always wonderful to be here in India. We are building a remarkable year of engagement...We have not only the strongest bilateral partnership we've ever had, but also a regional one, and indeed, a global one that was further evidenced by India's leadership for the G20 this year."
Acknowledging the shared focus on the Indo-Pacific, Blinken emphasized the urgency of US-India collaboration in the region.
"We have a lot to do, including with our defence colleagues. I think it's further evidence of our resolute focus for the United States on the Indo-Pacific, our region for the future, the future is actually now, and we're building it together with India."
Blinken arrived in New Delhi late Thursday from South Korea, the latest leg of a marathon trip that has included a G7 foreign ministers' meeting in Japan and a whirlwind tour of the Middle East.
Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will join Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh for the 5th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, which will focus on "defence and security cooperation".
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Blinken's visit will give a further boost to the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.
"A warm welcome to U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken as he arrives in New Delhi to co-chair the 5th India-US 2 2 Ministerial Dialogue. The visit will give a further boost to the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership!," Bagchi said in a social media post on X.
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