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EAM Jaishankar discusses G20 Summit, 2+2 Dialogue with US State Secretary Blinken in bilateral talks

The ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada was expected to be on the agenda of the bilateral meeting. However, it is unclear as of now whether Jaishankar and Blinken addressed the issue during their discussions.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Washington Updated on: September 29, 2023 12:00 IST
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar with US Secretary
Image Source : DR S JAISHANKAR/X External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday (local time) met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, where the leaders held discussions on several issues, including India's successful G20 presidency and the upcoming India-US 2+2 Dialogue.

According to an official statement from the US Department of State, both sides discussed several issues of importance, such as key outcomes of India’s G20 presidency and the creation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and how it can possibly generate transparent, sustainable, and high-standard infrastructure investments.

"The Secretary and the External Affairs Minister also emphasized the continued importance of cooperation ahead of the upcoming 2+2 Dialogue, in particular in the areas of defense, space, and clean energy," read the statement.

"Great to meet my friend US Secretary of State @SecBlinken at State Department today. A wide ranging discussion, following up on PM @narendramodi ’s June visit. Also exchanged notes on global developments. Laid the groundwork of our 2+2 meeting very soon," said Jaishankar on social media platform X.

In a separate post, Blinken also thanked Jaishankar for hosting US President Joe Biden for the G20 Summit earlier this month.

They can speak for themselves: US on India

The latest diplomatic crisis between two of America’s allies, India and Canada, was anticipated to be a prominent topic of discussion between the two top leaders. However, it is unclear yet whether the issue featured on the agenda of the bilateral talks between Jaishankar and Blinken.

When asked about the US' steps in urging India to cooperate in the investigation of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller remarked, "They can speak for themselves."

"I’m not going to speak to what they say in private diplomatic conversations. I will speak to what I say or what we say, and that is we urge them to cooperate with the Canadian investigation," he added.

Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, has claimed that there was "credible evidence" of the involvement of "Indian agents" behind the killing of 45-year-old Nijjar, who was shot dead on June 18 in Surrey, British Columbia, outside a gurdwara. Notably, Nijjar was designated as a terrorist by India in 2020.

India has rejected the accusation as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in retaliation to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official. Further, India has also asked Canada to take stronger action against terrorists and anti-Indian groups operating from its territory and suspended visa services for Canadians. 

Jaishankar's Washington visit

Prior to the bilateral meet with Blinken, the External Affairs Minister of India also held a meeting with US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai and discussed the expanding trade and economic relationship between the two nations.

"Good to see US Trade Representative @AmbassadorTai. Spoke about our expanding trade and economic relationship and its broader significance," he wrote on X.

Jaishankar also participated in a discussion convened by the India-US Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) on spoke on the collaboration between the two countries in the fields of critical and emerging tech and creating resilient supply chains.

He also participated in a conversation with Think Tanks about India’s growing role in global transformation. The Minister had started his visit with a meeting with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

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