New Delhi: Visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Wednesday called on External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar. She also met Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla earlier in the day.
“A good conversation on our relationship, its significance and its growth. Appreciated the successful visit of PM Modi to the US and the Quad Leaders’ Summit,’’ Dr. Jaishankar said in a tweet after the meeting.
At her meeting with the Foreign Secretary, both of them took stock of bilateral issues ranging from Covid-19, security and defence, economic, climate and clean energy and people to people linkages.
They also discussed issues of regional interest, especially the evolving situation in Afghanistan, as well as developments at the UN. They reiterated commitment for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, including through continued cooperation under the Quad, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman later also participated in the US-India Business Council (USIBC) summit along with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
Shringla said that with bipartisan support in the U.S. and across the political spectrum in India, and a solid foundation of shared democratic values India and the U.S. have built a substantive and robust economic agenda.
At an virtual interaction of the US-India Business Council as part of the 2021 India IDEAS Summit, he expressed his happiness in having joined Deputy Secretary Sherman, an experienced colleague and a good friend who is visiting Delhi and Mumbai.
Noting that since its inception, USIBC has proactively contributed to the India-US bilateral partnership, especially in advancing economic and commercial ties, the Foreign Secretary said: “Our close engagement, at all levels of government and industry, and people to people linkages, has made it easier to develop a synergy of perspectives on emerging regional and global issues.’’
Shringla said that there is an organic growth and momentum in the bilateral relations, given the deep stakes and investments in India-US relations by a multitude of stakeholders on both sides.
“Today, the India-U.S. relationship has a positive impact not only on our respective nations, but also in ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region and a peaceful and prosperous world,’’ he said at the interaction.
The Foreign Secretary said it was most evident during Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to the U.S. for his first formal interactions with President Biden and Vice President Harris; and the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit. The visit took place in the context of the evolving regional situation in Afghanistan; continuing the Covid-19 pandemic and its widespread impact; and in the run-up to the G20 and COP26 Summits later this year.
He told the council that the highlight of PM Modi’s successful visit to the US was his excellent meeting with President Biden, where they reviewed the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and several contemporary regional and global issues.
Shringla said that PM Modi’s meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris was substantive – with focus on emerging and critical technologies, climate, space, COVID pandemic, and the healthcare sector. “ During these interactions, there was a keen desire to build on the shared democratic values and increase our collaboration on regional and global issues. Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman’s visit gave us an excellent opportunity to review the outcomes of PM’s visit to the US – and the road ahead,’’ he said.
On the bilateral front: Defence Policy Group, Economic and Financial Partnership dialogue, Trade Policy Forum, dialogues on counter-terrorism and designations, and the 2+2 Ministerial which will take place soon – and will take forward the vision of Prime Minister Modi and President Biden for the India-US relations.
Given the fast-paced developments in South Asia, especially in Afghanistan, India and the U.S. will remain closely engaged both on the future of Afghanistan, and on how we can maintain peace and stability in South Asia, and beyond, Shringla said.
“In the post pandemic period, as India and the U.S. seek to maintain healthy rates of growth – we must work together to enhance our trade and investment and contribute to quick global economic recovery through supply chain resilience and diversity; tapping emerging technologies; working towards global health security; and facilitating clean and green technologies and climate finance for developing and vulnerable countries,’’ he said.
On the occasion, 100 Masters and Doctoral STEM fellowships in US universities, supported by private sector, were announced. Also, a Space Cooperation Working Group will be setup to enable peaceful uses of outer space. A Quad Infrastructure Coordination Group will also be set up.
The Foreign Secretary said that USIBC plays an important role in giving shape to aspirations of industry in both India and the U.S., as the two countries adapt to the geopolitical dynamics and new opportunities and challenges that are here.
“It will be our intention to realise the potential of the forward-looking agenda created by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden that does full justice to the comprehensive nature of our bilateral partnership,’’ he said.