WASHINGTON, D.C. — External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin May 28 and held a comprehensive conversation about further developing the strategic and defense partnership between the two countries.
Jaishankar and Austin also exchanged views on contemporary security challenges. "A warm meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. A comprehensive conversation about further developing our strategic and defense partnership. Exchanged views on contemporary security challenges. Expressed appreciation of the US military role in responding to the Covid situation," Jaishankar tweeted.
On May 27, Jaishankar had met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan wherein they held an hour-long meeting discussing wide-ranging issues including the Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan in Washington.
"Pleased to meet NSA @JakeSullivan46. Wide-ranging discussions including on Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan. Conveyed appreciation for US solidarity in addressing the Covid challenge. India-U.S. vaccine partnership can make a real difference," Jaishankar tweeted.
"I met today with India's Minister Jaishankar. Our people-to-people ties and our values are the foundation of the U.S.-India partnership and will help us end the pandemic, lead on climate, and support a free and open Indo-Pacific," Sullivan tweeted.
National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a White House statement, "National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met today with Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar to review the strong partnership between the world's largest democracies."
Horne said further that both the leaders welcomed cooperation in recent weeks that resulted in deliveries of over $500 million in COVID-19 relief supplies from the U.S. federal and state governments, U.S. companies and from private citizens across America for the people of India.
"They discussed a range of regional and global issues, and agreed the United States and India should continue working closely together to address common challenges throughout the Indo-Pacific region," the statement said.
"They agreed that people-to-people ties and shared values are the foundation of the U.S.-India strategic partnership that is helping to end the pandemic, supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, and providing global leadership on climate change," the statement added.
During that meeting, Jaishankar was accompanied by India's Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu as the external affairs minister commenced the second leg of his U.S. visit.
The external affairs minister also met with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, as part of his five-day U.S. visit, the first official trip since President Joe Biden took office in January.
Jaishankar and Tai discussed the issues around the proposal by India to suspend the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement to help them produce vaccines to fight COVID-19.
"Our trade, technology and business cooperation are at the core of our strategic partnership. Enhancing them is vital to post-Covid economic recovery. Welcomed her positive stance on IPR issues and support for efficient & robust supply chains," the minister said.
Jaishankar and members of U.S.-India Business Council board and select executives from the 'Global Task Force for Pandemic Response' shared their ongoing initiatives to support India's health infrastructure.
"Jaishankar's meeting with USIBC reinforced both countries' commitment to fight the pandemic together, build resilient supply chains and advance vaccine access. Joined by members of the USIBC Board and select Indian American executives from 'Global Task Force for Pandemic Response,' companies shared their ongoing initiatives to support India's health infrastructure and further ways to continue relief efforts," USIBC said in a statement on the business leaders meeting.
According to the statement, so far, the Global Task Force, a consortium of over 40 American companies, has supported India as follows:
“With its 1000 Ventilators Initiative: The first set of ventilators have been installed in Haldwani and training of physicians is underway. The next set of 300 ventilators are on its way to hospitals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities with installation and training planned for the upcoming days. The remainder are scheduled for their arrival to Chennai and allocation to hospitals in COVID hotspots is underway.
“Also, American companies has supported India with oxygen concentrators: 4,850 oxygen concentrators have reached 31 states, union territories and government agencies in India, with an additional 1,190 concentrators on the way route. Another 35,000 concentrators are scheduled for delivery by end of June.
“Chief Human Resources Officer India Action Group: Convened CHROs and human resources officers from nearly 200 companies. The group has launched a secure, private collaboration site with resources and materials that CHROs are using to help employees in India, and employees with family in India. Current content channels include telehealth, behavioral and mental health, home health kits, financial wellbeing, practical information for employees, and HR policy best practices," the statement added.
In recent weeks, both groups, the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and the USIBC, have formed a "Global Task Force on Pandemic Response" along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to work on several aspects of pandemic relief.
Jaishankar arrived in the U.S. on May 24 and is slated to visit many senior officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his stay which runs through May 28.