NEW DELHI: India’s tensions with China and the situation in Afghanistan were among the issues discussed when visiting US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar for talks on Saturday.
The meeting between the two lasted an hour, people familiar with the matter said.
The visiting US delegation spoke of Austin’s visits to Tokyo and Seoul — the two stops before the US defence secretary arrived in India on Friday on his three nation swing through the region. On Friday Austin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. On Saturday Austin had detailed talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Indo Pacific region and the strategic situation in the region were discussed, one of the people cited above said.
While the US side briefed about recent visits in East Asia, Jaishankar spoke about “India’s current security challenges and our long term strategic outlook,” one of the people cited above said. The discussions also covered the changing global scenario, including Europe and West Asia, the person said.
“Afghanistan was addressed in some detail,” the person cited above said. The US under president Joe Biden is aiming to start a new diplomatic initiative to bring peace to the war torn country.
“Assessments were exchanged on the peace process and the ground situation, as also the concerns and interests of regional powers and neighbours,” the person said adding Jaishankar appreciated the Biden Administration’s engagement with India on this issue.
“The steady growth of bilateral cooperation was recognized by both sides. Highlighting the commonalities and convergence, Jaishankar said that the relationship was unique for the breadth and intensity of cooperation that covered so many domains,” a second person said.
Austin said that “as the two largest democracies in the world, human rights and values are important to us and we will lead with these values. Jaishankar agreed and emphasised that a strong relationship between the two democracies was not only important for both countries but for the rest of the world,” the second person added.