Washington: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has met top Biden administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman, and held substantive discussions with them on the strategic bilateral ties and regional and global issues like the current situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized Kabul.
This was the first high-level discussion between the officials of the two countries after the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan on August 31.
Shringla, who arrived in the US capital on Wednesday from New York, met Blinken on Thursday at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
“Discussions touched on bilateral ties and the situation in Afghanistan,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a tweet after the meeting.
Shringla had a series of meetings throughout Thursday, including with his American counterpart Sherman.
“Excellent interaction this morning with Blinken and Sherman,” tweeted India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who attended the meetings along with Shringla.
Shringla and Sherman discussed a broad range of shared priorities, including continued coordination on Afghanistan, strengthening Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Quad, addressing the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, and preparations for upcoming dialogues, such as the 2 plus 2 Ministerial, said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
Quad is a grouping of the United States, India, Australia and Japan.
The two diplomats agreed to remain closely coordinated on shared goals and priorities to deepen the US-India partnership, Price said in a readout of the meeting. Shringla also met Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya.
“It was a pleasure meeting with India’s Foreign Secretary @HarshShringla, Ambassador @SandhuTaranjitS and senior MEA officials. The US-India relationship is defined by our shared democratic values. I look forward to continuing to coordinate closely on global challenges,” Zeya tweeted after the meeting.