Amid TALIBANs engaged in taking over Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that ‘’both India and the United States share strong interest in a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan.” During his maiden visit to New Delhi after assuming the august office, Blinken made public saying as a credible partner in the region, India has and will continue to make a vital contribution to Afghanistan’s stability and development. Prime Minister Narendra Modi told him he welcomed President Biden’s strong commitment to strengthen the India-US Strategic Partnership. It is anchored in a shared democratic value and is a force for global good.US has announced an additional 25 million dollars to support India’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Blinken told Indian leaders ‘’We will continue to work together to sustain the gains of the Afghan people and support regional stability after the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan. Even as we withdraw our forces from Afghanistan, we remain engaged in Afghanistan. We not only have a strong embassy there, but also important programmes that support the country economically through development and security assistance. We are very much engaged in the diplomacy of working to bring parties together at the table for the resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan,” Blinken said. The Taliban making advances in district centers, and committing atrocities in Afghanistan, is “deeply troubling” and “certainly doesn’t speak well about their intention for the country”.
Participating in a meet with civil society leaders in Delhi, Mr Blinken said Indo-US relations are most important. He acknowledged India as a “leading global power and a key US partner” in the Indo-Pacific and beyond in a document shared with reporters by the US embassy in India. He had interaction in person with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Indian counterpart Minister S Jaishankar in a camaraderie environment. “I deeply appreciate the work that we have been able to do together and the work that we are going to do together in the coming months. India and the US believe in human dignity, equality of opportunity, rule of law, fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom… We believe that all people deserve to have a voice in their government and be treated with respect no matter who they are. Our democracies are works in progress and as friends, we talk because doing hard work of strengthening democracy is often challenging,” Blinken said. Jaishankar told a presser said that India and the US are working together to expand vaccine production ahead of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Let me acknowledge the responsiveness of the Biden administration to keeping the raw material supply chains open for vaccine production in India and then say a big thanks for the support we received during the COVID second wave from the US, a support that was truly exceptional. Today, we focused on expanding vaccine production to make it globally affordable and accessible,” Jaishankar said. Indians and Americans are united by millions of family ties, tracing back generations and by shared values and shared aspirations. “We are determined to end this pandemic, and India and the US will work together to do it together including through the QUAD vaccine partnership. I believe India and the US together around the world will be leaders to bring this pandemic to an end. We are two of the world’s largest economies. Indian and American people are united by millions of family ties, tracing back generations and by shared values and shared aspirations,” he said. Defending QUAD, he said it is not just a military engagement but also one on regional cooperation adding the US views Indian democracy as a force for good in the defence of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Edited by @chakravartypk