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Blinken to meet Jaishankar, reaffirm vitally important strategic partnership: US official

Source : Indo-Asian News Service (IANS)

Blinken to meet Jaishankar, reaffirm vitally important strategic partnership: US official
Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar (right) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in 2021| Photo: Reuters 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to “reaffirm our vitally important strategic partnership” when they are in Australia for a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Quad bloc next week, said Daniel Kritenbrink, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific.

At the Quad meeting, “I’m confident that part of that discussion will relate to the challenges that China poses to those values (of the Quad) and to that rules-based order in a number of sectors”, Kritenbrink said on Friday. The meeting will take place as the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Europe where the US is facing off Russia over Ukraine, and will be an opportunity for Washington to reaffirm its continuing commitment to the Indo-Pacific strategy and to the Quad.

The message that Blinken will project through the meeting is that “in this era of intense competition, changing strategic landscapes, economic coercion, and, of course, this very difficult global pandemic, there is no greater global partnership than what we are trying to accomplish through the Quad with Australia, India and Japan”, Kritenbrink said.

The meeting is being hosted by Austria’s Marise Payne and Japan’s Hayashi Yoshimasa will also be there. Jaishankar tweeted on January 27 that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and, according to media reports, Australian officials had hoped that the schedule of the meeting would allow time for him to recover.

In opting for a direct meeting instead of a virtual consultation despite the pandemic, Kritenbrink said that “there is simply nothing like these face-to-face meetings to solidify and institutionalize what we view as a foundation of our foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific”.

This will be the fourth meeting of the Foreign Ministers and it follows last September’s Quad summit of US President Joe Biden, Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Scott Morrison of Australia, and Yoshihide Suga, who was the then premier of Japan.

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