Amid China-US tension: Jaishankar meets Blinken, discusses Lanka, ASEAN

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Thursday. The meeting comes at a time when tensions between the US and China are high US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan.

In his opening address at the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers, Blinken referred to concerns about the “challenges” in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the situation in the Indo-Pacific.

“A warm talk to start meetings on the sidelines of the ASEAN Ministerial in Phnom Penh. Discussed the growing relationship between India and the US and the global situation with US Secretary of State @SecBlinken,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Blinken said the US and India are strong supporters of ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific, according to the US State Department. “We are both strong supporters of ASEAN centrality. Together we have a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific that we are working towards every day in so many different ways,” said Blinken.

“And of course we have some immediate challenges that we are both concerned about, including the situation in Sri Lanka, Burma and a number of other hot spots,” he said. “So I’m really looking forward to going through some of these issues with my boyfriend again, and then we’ll both go to our meetings.”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Jaishankar and Blinken “exchanged views on global and regional issues, including Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine and the impact it has had on food insecurity around the world.” “.

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Meeting at key moment

India has so far tried to maintain diplomatic balance between Russia and the US-led West in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While it has expressed concern about the Bucha killings, it has no longer condemned Moscow’s actions.

Price said: “Discussing the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, they emphasized that both nations stand behind the people of Sri Lanka and support their pursuit of a return to economic and political stability through democratic and constitutional processes.”

Jaishankar also met with Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry.

He later tweeted: “A warm first meeting with FM Ali Sabry from Sri Lanka. Congratulated him on his new responsibility. Reaffirmed India’s commitment, as a trusted friend and trusted partner, to the economic recovery and well-being of Sri Lanka. Neighborhood first. ”

India has so far provided nearly $4 billion in economic and humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka as it grapples with its worst economic crisis since 1948.

Speaking at the Jaishankar-Blinken meeting, the US spokesperson also said: “Secretary Blinken condemned the execution of democratic activists by the Burmese military regime, and discussed promoting accountability for the regime’s atrocities and our collective efforts to put Burma back on track.” path to democracy. . They also noted our concerted efforts to promote a free, open, safe and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

India has expressed “deep concern” about the recent executions, but has not yet strongly condemned the Myanmar junta over the latest actions.

Jaishankar, who attended the India-ASEAN ministerial meeting, said India and the group of ten countries have “strong convergence” on the Indo-Pacific, countering the threat of terrorism and developments in Ukraine and Myanmar.

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He said India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also have similar views on connectivity projects, coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and cybersecurity issues.

The minister identified the digital domain, health, agriculture, education and green growth as areas driving the partnership between the two parties. “Digital, health, agricultural education and green growth will drive our partnership. Act East is steadily unfolding,” he tweeted.

The dialogue between India’s foreign ministers and ASEAN focused on general developments in the Indo-Pacific region and ways to further expand ties against the background of geopolitical developments, including the crisis in Ukraine. Foreign ministers also discussed the situation in the South China Sea, which is witnessing aggressive behavior from China.

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