External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in their first in-person meeting, discussed ways to deal with the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic, situation in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, and cooperation in multilateral forums. Jaishankar, who is in the UK for a four-day visit, held talks with Blinken on the sidelines of the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday. He thanked Blinken for the support of the US in India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ meeting on Tuesday, they also held discussions over issues concerning the Indo-Pacific region, climate change, UN Security Council, and Myanmar, according to a tweet by Jaishankar. The focus of his discussion with Blinken was the American support during India’s COVID-19 challenge, especially the supply of oxygen and Remdesivir. “Good to meet in person my old friend Secretary Blinken. Detailed discussion on the global COVID challenge, focusing on expanded vaccine production capacity and reliable supply chains,” Jaishankar said on Twitter. “Expressed appreciation for the strong US support to India at this difficult time, especially oxygen and Remdesivir,” he said.
Meanwhile, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement issued in Washington that the two leaders reviewed recent efforts in the fight against COVID-19, including the US assistance to India, and expressed appreciation for each country’s support throughout the pandemic. Jaishankar and Blinken discussed “addressing the COVID-19 challenge and deepening the US-India comprehensive global strategic partnership,” Price said. During the meeting, Blinken reaffirmed India’s important role when it comes to the climate crisis and as a leading partner in the Indo-Pacific, he said.