External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Thursday (Image courtesy: MEA)
Leveraging deepening bilateral ties, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held wide-ranging discussions with the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan in Washington on Thursday.
The meetings took place in the backdrop of the continuing diplomatic standoff between India and Washington’s ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance partner Canada over the assassination of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
While the White House is still to make any comment on the Jaishankar-Sullivan meeting, it is expected that the issue of “unsubstantiated allegations” made by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – already labeled as “absurd and motivated” by New Delhi – on India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada may have also come up during Thursday’s discussions.
“Began my Washington DC visit with a meeting with NSA Jake Sullivan. Recognized the tremendous progress in our bilateral relationship this year and discussed taking it forward,” tweeted Jaishankar after the meeting.
On September 21, while addressing a White House press briefing, Sullivan had commented that the US had “deep concerns” about the allegations made by Trudeau, and would like to see the investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account.
“It is a matter of concern for us. It is something we take seriously. It’s something we will keep working on, and we will do that regardless of the country,” said the US NSA.
Meanwhile, the US State Department stated that Jaishankar and Blinken discussed a full range of issues, including key outcomes of India’s G20 presidency, and the creation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor and its potential to generate transparent, sustainable, and high-standard infrastructure investments.
“The Secretary and the External Affairs Minister (EAM) also emphasised the continued importance of cooperation ahead of the upcoming 2+2 Dialogue, in particular in the areas of defence, space, and clean energy,” it mentioned in a statement.
Thank you to Indian External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar for hosting @POTUS earlier this month. We discussed India’s successful G20 presidency, creation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, and the upcoming #USIndia 2+2 Dialogue in New Delhi.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 29, 2023
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, India and the United States – along with partners Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union – announced the setting up of a landmark India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, earlier this month.
The colossal strategic infrastructure project, that is also seen by many analysts as a rival to China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, will usher in a new era of connectivity from Europe to Asia that will facilitate global trade, cooperation on energy and digital connectivity.
“Charting a journey of shared aspirations and dreams, the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor promises to be a beacon of cooperation, innovation, and shared progress. As history unfolds, may this corridor be a testament to human endeavour and unity across continents,” said PM Modi after the launch ceremony which was attended by several world leaders, including the US President Joe Biden, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
More progress on the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor and several other significant issues is expected to be made when Blinken and the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin travel to New Delhi in the coming weeks to hold talks with Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during the forthcoming fifth India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
“Great to meet my friend US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at State Department today. A wide ranging discussion, following up on PM Narendra Modi’s June visit. Also exchanged notes on global developments. Laid the groundwork of our 2+2 meeting very soon,” tweeted Jaishankar earlier today.