Jaishankar Discusses Covid Challenge, Vaccine Production Capacity, Supply Chains With US State Secy Blinken

Image Credits - Secretary Antony Blinken / Twitter

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday discussed COVID-19 challenge, vaccine production capacity, supply chains with him amid the second wave of pandemic in India.

“Good to meet in person my old friend @SecBlinken. Detailed discussion on the global Covid challenge, focussing on expanded vaccine production capacity and reliable supply chains,” tweeted Jaishankar. “Expressed appreciation for the strong US support to India at this difficult time, especially oxygen and Remdesivir. Our meeting also covered issues of Indo-Pacific, UN Security Council, Myanmar and climate change,” added the tweet.

Jaishankar’s meeting with Blinken is the first in-person meeting between them. After the meeting, Blinken tweeted: “Met today with @DrSJaishankar to discuss our joint efforts to combat COVID-19 and to advance our broader comprehensive global strategic partnership. India is a close friend and partner, and I look forward to further deepening the unique partnership between our two nations.”

According to sources, they have worked closely together in their previous capacities. Jaishankar, who is on a four-day visit to the UK from May 3-6, met Blinken in London at G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting. Blinken assured Jaishankar that the US was monitoring developments closely and would respond positively to any Indian requirements, they said.

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According to sources, oxygen and related equipment continue to be a key priority. The US has also acted on India’s request for more Remdesivir. The next shipment from the US will also be landing in India soon.

Both discussed how greater Indian vaccine production can address both India’s own needs and the requirement of global public health. India and the US will collaborate bilaterally, in Quad format and through multilateral initiatives, sources added. Both of them also exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific strategic landscape and reviewed the progress in practical cooperation in recent months. The conversation brought out the convergence of interests.

The discussions between Jaishankar and Blinken also covered the agenda before United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and other multilateral organisations, said the sources. It was agreed between the two that it was in mutual interest to work together. Both of them noted that climate action and clean energy can be areas of cooperation. Early operationalization of the 2030 Clean Energy Agenda was also discussed, as per the sources.

The situation in Myanmar following the military coup also came up during the discussions. Discussion centred on the ASEAN 5-point plan and its further progress. Both ministers looked forward to a further conversation at the G7 plus Guests meeting starting today.

On Friday, the United States delivered its first shipment of medical supplies to India including 423 oxygen cylinders with regulators (200 Size D, 223 Size H), 210 pulse oximeters, 184,000 Abbott Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits, and 84000 N-95 face masks, while in second shipment the US delivered 17 H-size (large) oxygen cylinders and 7,00,000 Abbott Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits to help the country fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with the European Union present as an observer. As host, the UK has invited additional countries to join as guests at the meeting, including India, Australia, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, and Brunei in its capacity as Chair of ASEAN.

(With ANI Inputs)

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