Tuesday September 28, 2021

US, India agree to expand multilateral security partnership

July 29, 2021
US, India agree to expand multilateral security partnership

NEW DELHI: The top diplomats of India and the United States pledged Wednesday to expand their multilateral security partnership, underscoring the deepening of ties between two countries concerned over China’s growing influence in the region.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met in New Delhi and sought to strengthen a regional front against Beijing’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific and their cooperation in Afghanistan.

They also lauded each country’s help in fighting the coronavirus and said their vaccine partnership is an effort to end the pandemic, international media reported. “There are few relationships in the world that are more vital than one between the US and India. We are the world’s two leading democracies and our diversity fuels our national strength,” Blinken said at a joint news conference.

Blinken said he and Jaishankar also discussed regional security issues including Afghanistan, where the US is expected to complete its military withdrawal in August. He called India’s contribution to the stability of Afghanistan “vital.” “We believe that all people deserve to have a voice in their government, to be treated with respect, no matter who they are,” Blinken said.

Meanwhile, Blinken met with a representative of Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in New Delhi, a State Department spokesperson said, a move that is likely to provoke anger in China. According to a British wire service, Blinken met briefly with Ngodup Dongchung, who serves as a representative of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also known as the Tibetan government in exile, the spokesperson said. In November, Lobsang Sangay, the former head of the Tibetan government in exile, visited the White House, the first such visit in six decades.