External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan during which they reviewed the progress in the US-India strategic partnership and exchanged views on global and regional issues, including approaches to advance a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Jaishankar, who is on a four-day official trip to Washington, also discussed Ukraine conflict with Sullivan during their meeting at the White House on Tuesday.
“Met today with Indian External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar to discuss our shared efforts to deepen the US-India strategic partnership, mitigate the impacts of Russia’s war in Ukraine, and advance a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Sullivan said in a tweet.
In a readout, his office said that Sullivan and Jaishankar met “to review progress in the US-India strategic partnership and exchange views on global and regional priorities, including the implications of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its impact on food and energy insecurity around the world”. It said they discussed “approaches to promoting debt sustainability and advancing a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific”. The US, India and several other world powers have been discussing the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
Jaishankar said that they discussed the Ukraine conflict and its repercussions, the Indo-Pacific situation, South Asia and the Gulf.
“Good to meet US National Security Advisor @JakeSullivan46. Discussed the Ukraine conflict and its repercussions, the Indo-Pacific situation, South Asia and the Gulf. Exchanged views on addressing the current global economic volatility,” he tweeted.
India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.
On Tuesday, during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after holding bilateral talks, Jaishankar said India faced no difficulties in terms of servicing and spare parts supply of equipment that it received in the past from Russia in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine and asserted that it exercises a choice which it believes is in its national interest when it is offered weapons.
“I don’t think in recent months we have faced any particular problems in terms of servicing and spare parts supply of (military) equipment that we have got in the past from Russia,” Jaishankar told reporters while responding to a question.
He was asked about India’s plans for military hardware and equipment given the sanctions that the US and others are putting on Russian industry and whether India will look at more purchases of American or Israeli military equipment.
“Where we get our military equipment and platforms from, that’s not an issue, honestly, which is a new issue or an issue which has particularly changed because of geopolitical tensions,” Jaishankar said.
India, he noted, looks at possibilities across the world. “We look at the quality of technology, the quality of capability, the terms on which that particular equipment is offered, and we exercise a choice which we believe is in our national interest,” he said.