Sunday, December 3, 2023

Jaishankar and Blinken’s Talks Echo Concerns Over West Asia Ahead of ‘2+2’ Diplomatic Dialogue

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On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussions with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in preparation for the upcoming annual “two-plus-two” talks. Jaishankar underscored the significance of Blinken’s visit, stressing the imperative to build upon the diplomatic engagements initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and US President Joe Biden in September.

Jaishankar emphasized the significance of Secretary Blinken’s visit, noting its importance in following up on the diplomatic strides made during Prime Minister Modi’s visit in June and President Biden’s visit in September. During the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the discussions spanned a wide spectrum, addressing key issues such as the Indo-Pacific, where both nations are members of the QUAD, and expressing shared concerns about the ongoing conflicts in West Asia.

Highlighting the fruitful collaboration at the recently concluded G20 Summit in September, Jaishankar expressed gratitude to the United States government and President Biden for their pivotal support. He credited this support as instrumental in achieving the consensus and successful outcomes during the summit, conveying thanks on behalf of Prime Minister Modi.

Expressing delight at his visit to India, Secretary Blinken highlighted the ongoing efforts to strengthen the robust ties between the two nations. He described the current year as a remarkable period of engagement, emphasizing not only the strongest-ever bilateral partnership but also a regional and global collaboration, underscored by India’s leadership in the G20.

Blinken acknowledged the shared commitment to the Indo-Pacific, emphasizing the imperative for collaborative efforts between the United States and India in the region. With a specific reference to engagements with defense counterparts, he stressed the resolute focus of the United States on the Indo-Pacific, emphasizing that the future is unfolding now, and it is a collaborative effort being shaped together with India.

After concluding his visit to South Korea, Secretary Blinken arrived in New Delhi late on Thursday, marking the latest leg of his extensive journey, which included a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Japan and a rapid tour of the Middle East.

In the upcoming 5th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, Secretary Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will join their Indian counterparts, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. The focus of the dialogue is set on enhancing “defense and security cooperation” between the two nations.

Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), expressed optimism about the visit, stating that Secretary Blinken’s presence will further strengthen the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. Bagchi conveyed a warm welcome to Secretary Blinken, highlighting the significance of the visit in a social media post.

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