Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

It is the first visit by a senior Indian minister to the U.S. after President Joe Biden assumed office in January.

India-US ties are one of the major relationships in the world and the challenge before New Delhi and Washington is how to translate their fundamental, societal and geopolitical convergences into actionable policies, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

Emphasising that he has “big agenda” for the US-India relationship going forward, Mr. Jaishankar said, “I think our relationship has come a long way. It’s today one of the major relationships in the world and my own sense is that in Washington today, there is a real appreciation of the potential of this relationship, what it can do. And it’s true of New Delhi as well.”

During a virtual conversation with former US National Security Adviser General HR McMaster in ‘Battlegrounds’ session on ‘India: Opportunities And Challenges For A Strategic Partnership’ presented by the Hoover Institution, Mr. Jaishankar said that keeping in mind issues such as impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, rise of different powers, “today we all recognize that it’s not a question of one or two or three countries who will decide how the world.”

“The world is truly much more multipolar and if it is multipolar, then it’s all the more important for countries to learn how to work with each other more effectively. And I see a big change in the American mindset in that regard,” Mr. Jaishankar said responding to a question on the trajectory of US-India relations.

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“So the United States has not only an enormous ability to reinvent itself, it also has a great ability to assess its situation and re-strategise in a way.” Noting that when it comes to the big issues of the day, “maybe because we are pluralistic societies, because we are political democracies, because we are market economies, that we have fundamental convergences.”

He said these convergences are societal and geopolitical. “I think the challenge before us is how to translate those convergences into actionable policies,” he said, adding that he certainly looks forward to working on these with the Biden administration.

Mr. Jaishankar, who arrived in New York on Sunday and met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, travelled to Washington Wednesday where he is expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A State Department spokesperson said Mr. Blinken and Mr. Jaishankar would discuss a wide range of issues, including COVID-19, efforts to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Quad, enhanced U.N. and multilateral cooperation.

In addition to meeting his counterpart, Mr. Jaishankar is scheduled to meet US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, other senior officials of the Biden Administration, influential lawmakers, think-tanks, leaders of the corporate sector and members of the Indian American community.

It is the first visit by a senior Indian minister to the U.S. after President Joe Biden assumed office in January.

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