India-China border issue, Burma coup, Afghanistan discussed at Jaishankar-Blinken meeting

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External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Washington [US], May 29 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during their bilateral meeting on Friday (local time) discussed regional and global cooperation between India and United States, including joint efforts to address a range of regional issues, such as China, Burma and Afghanistan, a US spokesperson has said.

"The United States and India have strengthened our cooperation in the region. Over the course of the past year, we have worked together to address a range of regional issues such as China, Burma and Afghanistan," said Dean Thompson, the Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, US.

He further said that both the countries have also shared their concerns over China's problematic activities.

"On China, we shared concerns about Southern China's problematic activities in the region, and it becomes increasingly like-minded on these issues. On the coup in Burma, the US and India have called for an end to the violence, urged the release of political prisoners, and called for the restoration of democracy," Thompson said in his briefing to reporters.

In a tweet after his meeting with Jaishankar, Blinken said: "Productive discussion today with @DrSJaishankar on regional security and economic priorities to include U.S. COVID-19 relief efforts, India-China border situation, and our support for Afghanistan. As friends, we will work together to address these areas of shared concern."

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, who is on an official trip to the US on Friday (local time) held meetings with his counterpart Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Meanwhile, Thompson in his briefing to reporters on the meeting between Jaishankar and Blinken also said "On Afghanistan, we have ve long shared the view that a peaceful, stable Afghanistan is in our mutual interest, We need to continue working together and with the region to press for political settlement to end the conflict there."

The state department official said "We're also pleased with the scope of our Quad cooperation, building on historic leader-level summit - the historic leader-level summit earlier this year."

Thompson also informed that the US has redirected critical supplies to India that will help the country manufacture 20 million additional doses of AstraZeneca's Covishield.

"We have redirected one of our own orders of critical vaccine manufacturing supplies, which will allow India to make over 20 million additional doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine," he said.

Thompson also said: "In total, the US government, state governments, US companies, and private citizens have provided over 500 million US Dollars in COVID-19 relief supplies to India."

He further went on to say that Jaishankar's visit showcased the breadth and depth of the relationship with India, which the US administration views as one of the most important partnerships in the region and the world.

"Today's meeting between Secretary Blinken and Minister Jaishankar demonstrates our deep commitment to the partnership and to strengthening it in the years to come," he said.

The latest COVID-19 crisis, Thompson said, has only strengthened the commitment to working together on Covid response, which will be essential to helping the world recover from the pandemic. Expanding to the production of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines is a top priority for both the United States and India, he said.

"Together with our Quad partners Japan and Australia, we are continuing to identify options for cooperation in the areas of vaccine manufacturing capacity in India, as well as Covid19 vaccine administration and delivery across the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

He added that the meeting also had a conversation on global vaccine distribution and addressing worldwide shortages of critical inputs for vaccine production. (ANI)

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