New Delhi [India], March 20 (ANI): In an hour-long meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, apart from geostrategic affairs, the issue of Human Rights also figured.
It is learnt from reliable sources that during the meet the Defence Secretary said that as the two largest democracies in the world, human rights and values are important to us and we will lead with these values.
EAM agreed and emphasised that a strong relationship between the two democracies was important not only for both countries but for the rest of the world
These remarks assume importance in the backdrop of the Freedom House report which has downgraded India and called it "partly free". India discarded the report as inaccurate and distorted. Freedom House is a US-based global watchdog that is also funded by the US government.
According to sources, "Discussions marginally focused on the strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific. The US side briefed about recent visits in East Asia. EAM spoke about India's current security challenges and our long-term strategic outlook. Conversation also covered changing global scenario, including Europe and West Asia."
Jaishankar and Austin met earlier in the day. Jaishankar said in a tweet that he looked forward to working with Austin to enhance the strategic partnership. "Welcomed US @SecDef Lloyd Austin at MEA. A wide-ranging conversation on the global strategic situation. Look forward to working with him on enhancing our strategic partnership," he said.
A source familiar with details of meet said: "Afghanistan was addressed in some detail. Assessments were exchanged on the peace process and the ground situation, as also the concerns and interests of regional powers and neighbours. EAM appreciated the Biden administration's engagement with India on this issue."
According to informed sources, "The steady growth of bilateral cooperation was recognised by both sides. EAM apprised Defence Secretary of the progress and potential of various aspects of the leadership. Highlighting the commonalities and convergence, EAM said that the relationship was unique for the breadth and intensity of cooperation that covered so many domains". (ANI)