US Secretary Of State Antony Blinken Meets PM Modi On His Maiden India Visit

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on wednesday. “Good to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken today. I welcome President Joe Biden’s strong commitment to strengthen the India-US Strategic Partnership, which is anchored in our shared democratic values and is a force for global good,” said PM Modi after the meeting.

Earlier today, Antony Blinken held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on a range of bilateral and regional issues with a focus on taking the relationship to the “next level”. At a press briefing, the US Secretary said, ”There isn’t a challenge that doesn’t have an impact on lives of our citizens whether it’s COVID, disruptive impact of emerging technologies,that can be addressed by any one of us acting alone. There’s greater imperative on cooperation among countries than ever before.”

Speaking on Blinken’s maiden visit to India, the Indian foreign minister said that peace & prosperity in Indo-Pacific is as important for both of us as democratic stability in Afghanistan.

Jaishankar added that deepening the Quad as a collaborative platform is in mutual interest & both nations must work together even more closely on key contemporary challenges like terrorism.

Here Are The Top Takeaways: 

Why this visit matters

Deepening the U.S.-India Partnership

The United States and India have a strong strategic partnership founded on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The United States supports India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion.

The United States and India cooperate on a wide range of diplomatic, economic, and security issues, including defense, non-proliferation, regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, shared democratic values, counterterrorism, climate change, health, energy, trade and investment, peacekeeping, the environment, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, and oceans.

In 2008, the United States and India signed an agreement, making India a full partner in the governance and funding of the Fulbright Program. An increase in exchanges under the agreement has allowed for the development of new and innovative programs, and India now has the largest Fulbright Scholar (faculty) program in the world. In FY 2019, this funding provided opportunities for 61 U.S. Scholars, 66 Indian Scholars, 80 U.S. students, including 29 English Teaching Assistants, and 55 Indian students, including 13 Foreign Language Teaching Assistants.

The United States and India are working to expand cooperation in international organizations. The United States welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in January 2021 for a two-year term. In October 2020, India hosted the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, and the United States looks forward to the next 2+2 later this year.

The Indo-Pacific Front and Center

India is a leading global power and a key U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. At the inaugural Quad Leaders’ Summit in March, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi joined their Japanese and Australian counterparts in pledging to respond to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19, combat the climate crisis, and address shared challenges, including in cyber-space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime security.

Also Read: After Kakatiya Rudreshwara Temple UNESCO Declares Gujarat’s Harappan City As World Heritage Site

Deterring Our Adversaries and Defending Our Interests

U.S.-India defense cooperation is reaching new heights, including through information sharing, liaison officers, increasingly complex exercises like Malabar, and defense enabling agreements, such as the secure communications agreement COMCASA. As of 2020, the United States has authorized over $20 billion in defense sales to India.

Through the U.S.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defense equipment. The United States and India are also closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan.

Combating the Covid-19 Pandemic

The United States stands with the people of India as they continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States has contributed more than $200 million for India’s COVID-19 relief and response efforts since the pandemic began, including more than $50 million in emergency supplies and training for more than 218,000 frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, benefitting more than 43 million Indians.

Earlier this year, the United States and India initiated the renewal of a memorandum of understanding to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and other emerging threats. The United States and India are partnering to strengthen the global response to COVID-19, on issues ranging from addressing infectious disease outbreaks to strengthening health systems to securing global supply chains.

U.S. pharmaceutical companies have coordinated with Indian companies since the beginning of the pandemic. This cooperation includes voluntary licensing and technology transfer agreements to increase global manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, therapies, and conducting clinical trials.

Tackling the Climate Crisis

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry traveled to India in April of this year and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed the importance of two of the world’s largest economies leading together to address the climate crisis.

At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi launched the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership to strengthen cooperation on strong actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to help each country achieve its respective climate and clean energy goals.

Under the new Agenda 2030 Partnership, the United States and India look forward to launching the new Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue, led by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and relaunching the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership, led by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, later this year.

The United States looks forward to further cooperation with India on tackling the climate crisis and raising global ambition ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, in November.

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