“There are few relationships in the world that are more vital than the one between the United States and India,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after meeting in New Delhi with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
At a press availability with both leaders, Secretary Blinken emphasized the natural bonds between India and the United States: they are two of the world’s leading democracies; two of the world’s largest economies; two of the world’s largest carbon emitters “on the front lines of the climate crisis and the leading edge of a new green economy.” Both countries benefit from a diverse population and an innovative spirit. “Together, the actions that India and the United States take are shaping the 21st century and beyond,” Secretary Blinken said.
Of the critical issues the two leaders discussed, COVID topped the agenda. The U.S. government has contributed more than $200 million to India for COVID-19 relief, and the United States, Secretary Blinken announced, will send an additional $25 million to support vaccination efforts across India. The additional funding will strengthen vaccine supply chain logistics, address misinformation, and help train more health care workers. In addition, the United States and India will work together to end the pandemic, including through the vaccine partnership shared by the Quad countries – India, the United States, Australia, and Japan – which will bring safe and effective vaccines to others across the region.
Regional security issues were also discussed, including the need to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, as well as the goal of achieving “a peaceful, secure, and stable Afghanistan.” Both leaders agreed there is no military solution to the conflict. “There’s only one path,” said Secretary Blinken, “and that’s at the negotiating table to resolve the conflict peacefully and to have an Afghanistan emerge that is governed in a genuinely inclusive way and that’s representative of all its people.”
Another key part of the discussions focused on shared values and democratic traditions. “As two of the world’s leading democracies, we take seriously our responsibilities to deliver freedom, equality and opportunity to all of our people. And we know that we must constantly do more…Part of the promise of democracy is the constant striving for better,” said Secretary Blinken.
“Like our own, India’s democracy is powered by its free-thinking citizens. We applaud that,” declared Secretary Blinken, “and we view Indian democracy as a force for good in defense of a free and open Indo-Pacific – indeed, a free and open world.”