Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific discussed during Jaishankar-Austin meet 

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi  Published: Mar 20, 2021, 09:44 PM(IST)

India's external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar meets US defence secretary Lloyd Austin (Pic by MEA) Photograph:( Others )

Story highlights

US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin briefed about his visit to Japan and South Korea. Austin is on his maiden as defence secretary to Asia, with India, a key stop during it. His visit comes against the backdrop of the Quad- India, Australia, Japan and US leadership virtual meet and increased New Delhi-Washington engagement

Afghanistan and the situation in Indo-Pacific were the key topics of discussions during the talks between India's external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar and visiting US defence secretary Lloyd Austin. The one-hour-long talks saw both sides talking about the current strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific, with EAM briefing about India's 'current security challenges and our long term strategic outlook', sources said. 

US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin briefed about his visit to Japan and South Korea. Austin is on his maiden as defence secretary to Asia, with India, a key stop during it. His visit comes against the backdrop of the Quad- India, Australia, Japan and US leadership virtual meet and increased New Delhi-Washington engagement. 

During discussion on Afghanistan, the ongoing peace process was discussed including assessment of the situation on the ground. EAM appreciated the Biden Administration’s engagement with India on this issue. Remember US has proposed to Afghan governement, a six-country talks, which include India to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. The visit of the US defence secretary will be followed by the visit of the Afghan FM Haneef Atmar to Delhi. 

During the meet, highlighting the 'commonalities and convergence', sources said, EAM said that the India US 'relationship was unique for the breadth and intensity of cooperation that covered so many domains'. While defence engagement have increased with Washington authorising over $20 billion in defence sales to India, people to people relation form the bedrock of this relationship.  

The issue of human rights as shared attribute also came up, with sources pointing out that while US Defence Secretary 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", EAM '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."

Ahead of the visit, chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee Senator Robert Menendez called for US defence secretary to raise the issue of human rights. 

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