External Affairs Minister Jaishankar thanked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for US support in India’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic

Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in their first in-person meeting, discussed ways to deal with the unleashed COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in the strategic region Indo -Pacific and cooperation in multilateral forums.

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Mr Jaishankar, who is in the UK for a four-day visit, met with Mr Blinken on the sidelines of the G7 foreign ministers meeting on May 3.

He thanked Mr. Blinken for the support of the United States in India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting on May 4, they also had discussions on issues relating to the Indo-Pacific region, climate change, the UN Security Council and Myanmar, according to a tweet from Mr. Jaishankar.

The focus of his discussion with Mr Blinken was US support during India’s COVID-19 challenge, in particular the oxygen supply and Remdesivir.

“Nice to meet my old friend, Secretary Blinken in person.” A detailed discussion of the global challenge of COVID, focusing on expanded vaccine production capacity and reliable supply chains, ”Jaishankar said on Twitter.

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“Expressed his gratitude for the strong US support to India at this difficult time, especially oxygen and Remdesivir,” he said.

Meanwhile, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement released in Washington that the two leaders reviewed recent efforts in the fight against COVID-19, including the US aid to India, and expressed gratitude for the support of each country throughout the pandemic.

Mr. Jaishankar and Mr. Blinken discussed “meeting the challenge of COVID-19 and deepening the comprehensive comprehensive strategic partnership between the United States and India,” Mr. Price said.

During the meeting, Mr. Blinken reaffirmed India’s important role in addressing the climate crisis and as a leading partner in the Indo-Pacific, he said.

“They also discussed ways to deepen cooperation in multilateral fora, including in the United Nations Security Council and as a guest country of the G7,” Price said, adding that the two leaders looked forward to pursue US-Indian cooperation on all bilateral and global issues.

Earlier, Mr. Jaishankar described it as a very good meeting.

“Among the many topics we discussed was first and foremost the strong support we are receiving from the United States to deal with the COVID-19 situation. We are very, very grateful for that, ”he told reporters during a joint appearance with Mr Blinken in London.

“We also discussed how our collaboration could help expand immunization capacities globally,” he said.

In his brief remarks, Blinken acknowledged India’s contribution when the United States faced the COVID-19 crisis.

“We remember so well when India came to our aid in the early days of COVID-19 in a very important and powerful way.

“We are united in this fight and determined to do whatever we can to help,” said Blinken.

Meanwhile, sources in New Delhi said Mr. Jaishankar and Mr. Blinken had had an in-depth discussion on the challenge of COVID-19 and India’s immediate needs.

Mr. Blinken assured Mr. Jaishankar that the United States is following developments closely and will respond positively to all India’s demands.

Sources said the next shipment of medical supplies from the United States will arrive in India soon.

Jaishankar was also told that the supply of oxygen and related equipment to India will continue to be a key priority for the United States, the sources said.

The United States has also followed up on India’s request to provide more remdesivir, it said.

The sources said that Mr. Jaishankar and Mr. Blinken also discussed how greater production of Indian vaccines can meet both India’s needs and global public health demands.

They said India and the United States will collaborate bilaterally, in Quad format and through multilateral initiatives.

In November 2017, India, Japan, the United States and Australia gave shape to the long-standing proposal to create the “Quad” to develop a new strategy to maintain the critical sea routes of the Indo -Pacific free from any influence.

According to a source, “The conversation brought out the convergence of interests. The ministers reviewed the progress of practical cooperation in recent months ”.

The conversation covered the agenda before the UN Security Council and other multilateral organizations, the sources said.

India and the United States also exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific strategic landscape, they added.

China, which deploys its military forces in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, is engaged in highly controversial territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

The country claims almost all of the 1.3 million square kilometers of the South China Sea as sovereign territory.

China has built and militarized many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.

He built military bases on man-made islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The two sea zones of the South and East Seas of China are renowned for being rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital for world trade.