Vaccine, Afghanistan, China top India-US discussions during EAM’s visit
New Delhi, May 30: The United States has assured India that in the view of it withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration would keep a close watch on the Af-Pak region to ensure that security in the region does not deteriorate.
The US security team also assured visiting Indian External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar of an appropriate response if things go south in Afghanistan.
During the visit, Jaishankar also discussed China's aggressive behaviour. Both sides expressed worries over the behaviour by the Chinese and discussed the rapid expansion by the PLA and its intermediary range nuclear arsenal.
Jaishankar was also assured of complete US support for India's vaccine programme and vaccine raw materials. The US assured India that it would do all it could to support India in its fight for health security, officials familiar with the development tell OneIndia.
Jaishankar, who is in the US on an official trip, said the situation in Afghanistan, from where the US is in the process of withdrawing its troops, was discussed during his meetings with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan.
In my meeting with the Secretary of Defence, with the, with the Secretary of State, the Afghanistan issue obviously came up because it is a very important concern," he said.
"The possible scenarios, once the US military draws down is obviously something which matters to us, it matters very much to Afghanistan, it matters to the United States, and it has a larger regional resonance, Jaishankar said.
US President Joe Biden in April announced that all American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 this year, thus bringing to end the country's longest war, spanning across two decades.
In an interaction with a group of Indian reporters, Jaishankar said that Afghanistan came up in all of these meetings.
I don't think it was so much an issue of what is India's role? I mean, India has an interest, India has influence, India has stakes, India has a history out there. We are a regional country. We are probably bordering Afghanistan," he said.
"So, there is a recognition, clearly in the United States as indeed in many other countries, that when you talk about the future of Afghanistan, India, is an important part of that conversation, Jaishankar said.
There were discussions on what could happen, what should happen, what should not happen, he said in response to a question.
Earlier, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Dean Thompson told reporters that both India and the US have long shared the view that a peaceful, stable Afghanistan is in their mutual interest.