By Lalit K Jha
EXTERNAL Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during which they held wide-ranging discussions and agreed that people-to-people ties and shared values are the foundation of the US-India strategic partnership that is helping to end the pandemic, supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific and providing global leadership on climate change. Jaishankar, the first Indian Cabinet Minister to visit the United States under the Biden administration, met Sullivan on Thursday.
“Pleased to meet Jake Sullivan. Wide-ranging discussions including on Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan. Conveyed appreciation for US solidarity in addressing the COVID challenge. India-US vaccine partnership can make a real difference,” Jaishankar said in a tweet after the meeting.
“Our people-to-people ties and our values are the foundation of the US-India partnership and will help us end the pandemic, lead on climate, and support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Sullivan wrote on Twitter after the meeting. The US Government and Americans across the country have delivered over USD 500 million in COVID-19 relief to India.
“We will beat this pandemic together,” Sullivan tweeted. During the meeting, Sullivan and Jaishankar welcomed the cooperation in recent weeks that resulted in deliveries of over USD 500 million in COVID-19 relief supplies from the US federal and state governments, US companies and private citizens across America for the people of India, said Emily Horne, Spokesperson of the National Security Council, White House.
“They discussed a range of regional and global issues and agreed that the United States and India should continue working closely together to address common challenges throughout the Indo-Pacific region. “They agreed that people-to-people ties and shared values are the foundation of the US-India strategic partnership that is helping to end the pandemic, supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, and providing global leadership on climate change,” she said.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s growing military manoeuvring and aggression in the region. The Chinese military is also actively eyeing the strategic Indian Ocean region to step up Beijing’s influence. China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.