New York: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising global tensions, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday, as they sought to deepen the ties between their countries.
In a tweet after the meeting, Blinken called it "a productive discussion on regional security and economic priorities, Covid-19 relief efforts, India-China border situation and US support for Afghanistan."
"Today's talks have further solidified our strategic partnership and enlarged our agenda of cooperation" tweeted Jaishankar after the discussions with Blinken.
Appreciating the strong solidarity expressed by the US in the pandemic times, Jaishankar said that they had "also focused on Indo-US vaccine partnership aimed at expanding access and ensuring supply."
Jaishankar had also "expressed appreciation of the US military role in responding to the Covid situation" in India. During the deadly second wave pandemic, US Air Force did help India with supplies of oxygen, equipment to make the gas, personal protection gear and other materials.
Meanwhile, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Blinken "reaffirmed the Administration's commitment to deepening the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and added that "a shared commitment to combating the climate crisis and enhancing multilateral cooperation" was another major topic of discussion between the two countries.
Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin commented he "looks forward to hosting Minister Jaishankar and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue " that the US is scheduled to host later this year.
On Thursday, Jaishankar had also met with the top strategic officials - National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, top American lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties, and top American business leaders in Washington DC.
Jaishankar tweeted that he had "wide-ranging discussions including on Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan" with Sullivan and "conveyed appreciation for US solidarity in addressing the Covid challenge" where "India-US vaccine partnership can make a real difference".
About his meeting with Haines, he tweeted that India "Look forward to working closely together to address contemporary security challenges and advance our strategic partnership.
Members of the US-India Business Council (USIBC), the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and the US Global Task Force on Pandemic Relief also met Jaishankar.
The Indian embassy tweeted that he "appreciated the US private sector's swift response in India's fight against the pandemic" and the participation of CEOs of US companies, their support for India's efforts against the pandemic, and the "US industry's firm commitment to advance India-US trade, investment and technology partnership".
(With IANS inputs)