US calls India ‘leading global power’ and Indo-Pacific ‘front and centre’

Published on Jul 27, 2021 10:23 PM IST

The US state department’s statement has come amid secretary of state Antony Blinken’s maiden visit to New Delhi, where he is scheduled to meet Indian PM Narendra Modi and external affairs minister S Jaishankar

A hand-out photo shows US secretary of state Antony Blinken arriving at New Delhi airport on Tuesday. (PTI)
A hand-out photo shows US secretary of state Antony Blinken arriving at New Delhi airport on Tuesday. (PTI)
ByYashwant Raj

As Antony Blinken reached New Delhi on Tuesday evening on his maiden visit to India as US secretary of state, the state department reiterated America’s support for the country’s “emergence as a leading global power and a vital partner” in the Indo-Pacific region.

Blinken is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and external affairs minister S Jaishankar, the US state department said.

The Indian side had earlier also lined up a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

“The United States and India have a strong strategic partnership founded on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the state department said in a statement. “The US supports India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion.”

The statement went on to describe the Indo-Pacific as “front and centre” and recalled a Quad leaders’ summit in March that US President Joe Biden had hosted with the three prime ministers - Modi, Australia’s Scott Morrison and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga.

They had announced a joint Covid-19 vaccine initiative and cooperation on critical technologies, counterterrorism and infrastructure.

The US state department listed out the entire expanse of ongoing cooperation between the two countries - diplomatic, economic and security issues, defence, non-proliferation, regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, shared democratic values, counterterrorism, the climate crisis, health, energy, trade and investment, peacekeeping, the environment, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, and oceans.

On the defence front, cooperation between the two countries is reaching “new heights, including through information sharing, liaison officers, increasingly complex exercises” and the signing of agreements. As of 2020, the US had authorised $20 billion in defence-related sales to India.

The statement laid out in details the work the two countries are doing in healthcare, including US assistance to India to fight the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, amounting to $200 million. Also, an estimated $400 million more was chipped in by individuals and private sector companies.

The climate crisis has been another area of intense focus, the statement said, recalling US special envoy John Kerry’s visit to India in April and a climate summit that President Biden had hosted in April, which was attended by Modi and 39 other world leaders.

The two countries are looking forward to launching the new Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue under the Agenda 2030 Partnership, which will be led by Kerry. And they are also eyeing a re-launch of the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership, which is to be led by US secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm later this year.

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