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2+2 Dialogue: Austin, Blinken, Jaishankar and Rajnath Discuss Ukraine, Russian Energy Dependence | Top Quotes

Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar, US secretary of state Antony Blinken and defence secretary Lloyd Austin III along with Union defence minister Rajnath Singh (not pictured) address a joint press conference (Image: Reuters)

Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar, US secretary of state Antony Blinken and defence secretary Lloyd Austin III along with Union defence minister Rajnath Singh (not pictured) address a joint press conference (Image: Reuters)

The meetings centered around war in Ukraine, Afghanistan, world food security and energy crisis. Here are some of the top quotes by both sets of ministers

Union ministers S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh on Monday met with their respective counterparts Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin in Washington. Both sets of ministers discussed means to enhance India-US ties and the discussions were centred around issues which currently affect the international order.

Both sets of ministers have discussed the Russian so-called ‘military operation’ in Ukraine, Pakistan-sponsored terror and rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. They also discussed issues related to food security, energy crisis and targets the US administration has set to woo India away from Russia.

Here are some of the top quotes from the joint press conference:

  1. Union minister S Jaishankar told media persons present inside the state department that India only needs a fraction of its energy from Russia and the US’ European allies are far more reliant on Russian energy. “If you are looking at energy purchases from Russia – we do buy some energy necessary for our energy security – but I would suggest that your focus should be on Europe. I suspect looking at the figures our total monthly purchases would be less than what Europe purchases in an afternoon,” the Union minister said.
  2. Union defence minister Rajnath Singh highlighted during the discussion that several ‘states’ use terrorism to wage proxy wars and steps should be taken to bring the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai attacks and Pathankot airbase attacks to justice. “During the meeting, we shared our assessments of the situation in our neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean Region.  The use of terrorism as an instrument of statecraft against India came up prominently,” Rajnath Singh said. He also lauded the decision taken by him and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin to further military engagements between both nations.
  3. US defence secretary Lloyd Austin highlighted that India and the US need to work together to counter China. “Both democracies are worried about the People’s Republic of China, which seeks to refashion the region, and the international system more broadly, in ways that serve its interests. The United States stands with India in defending their sovereign interests,” Austin said. Austin further added that the US administration will work towards making their defence systems ‘more affordable’.
  4. US secretary of state Antony Blinken lauded India’s role in helping mitigate the conflict in Ukraine. Blinken acknowledged that India is playing a major role in extending humanitarian relief to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict. “India has made very strong statements in New York at the UN, the minister, before the Indian parliament, condemning the killing of civilians in Ukraine, calling for an independent investigation of these atrocities.  And I would also note that India is providing significant humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, notably medicines,” Blinken said.
  5. The minister also addressed the issue related to rising food prices and food availability due to the conflict. “Russia’s actions are having a profound impact not just in Europe and in Ukraine, but around the world – for example, causing food insecurity and rising prices.  Ukraine’s farmers have been forced to flee or to fight, as Russian troops intentionally destroy farmland,” Blinken said. Jaishankar said that both nations are aiming towards bringing stability in terms of food availability as well as addressing shortages. “An equally big worry which is emerging is food security.  There are concerns across geographies of societies who are importing wheat or sugar or other foodstuff out of the conflict region. So we have discussed today about what India could do to stabilise the global economic situation,” Jaishankar said.

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