India’s Foreign Minister Receives Extraordinary Reception in U.S. Visit, Meets with Series of Top U.S. Officials

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar is on a four-day visit to the United States from May 24-28. He met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, after meeting with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Trade Representative Dickey, and even Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, among others. The Biden administration held a separate meeting with key officials, highlighting the current warming and close relations between the United States and India.

Sugarson held talks with Sullivan on the 27th. A White House statement described how “the two welcomed the cooperation in recent weeks that has resulted in more than $500 million in new crown epidemic relief supplies for the people of India from U.S. federal and state governments, U.S. companies, and individual citizens across the United States. They discussed a range of regional and global issues and agreed that the United States and India should continue to work closely together to address common challenges across the Indo-Pacific region.” The statement said the two agreed that “people-to-people ties and shared values are the foundation of the U.S.-India strategic partnership that is helping to end the pandemic, support a free and open Indo-Pacific, and provide global leadership on climate change.”

In addition, Sujesen tweeted about “good discussions with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Dyche. Our trade, technology and business cooperation are at the core of our strategic partnership and strengthening them is critical to post-epidemic economic recovery. Her proactive stance on intellectual property issues and support for an efficient and robust supply chain were welcomed.” Sugarson also uploaded a group photo of the two teams during their meeting. Also photographed meeting with him included U.S. Director of National Intelligence Haynes. Sugarson said, “It was a pleasure to meet Director Haines. Looking forward to working closely to address contemporary security challenges and advance our strategic partnership.”

According to Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, those who met with Sujetsen and his delegation at the Indian Embassy included senior officials from the White House, National Security Council, State Department, Treasury Department, Energy Department, Agency for International Development, Homeland Security, Trade Department, Mission to the United Nations, National Science Foundation and Defense Department. Sugarson also held talks with Austin earlier Friday. He described the meeting as “a lively one with Secretary Austin. There was a comprehensive dialogue on further developing our strategic and defense partnership. Exchanged views on contemporary security challenges. Expressed appreciation for the role of the U.S. military in responding to the New Crown epidemic situation.”

“Secretary Austin and Secretary Sugarson reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region and strengthening the key U.S.-India defense partnership,” a statement from the U.S. Department of Defense said. They also discussed opportunities to deepen coordination in the face of a resurgent new crown epidemic,” the statement said. Secretary Austin said he looks forward to hosting Secretary Sugarson and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh at the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year.”

Sujetsen also held talks with Blinken that day. Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Blinken said, “I’m particularly pleased to be here with my friend and colleague, Secretary Sutjensen. It’s great to have him here at the State Department, and it’s also very important because the United States and India are working together to address many of the most important challenges of our time and challenges that have a profound impact on the lives of our citizens.” Blinken said, “We are united in facing the new crown epidemic, we are united in addressing the challenges posed by climate change, and we are working together directly through the Quadripartite Security Dialogue (Quad) and other agencies of the United Nations to address the many challenges we face in the region and around the world.”

Blinken said, “The partnership between the United States and India is vital, it’s strong, and I think it’s increasingly productive. So I’m very pleased that the foreign minister is here today, and we have a lot to talk about as we always do.” Sugarson said, “Let me echo the Secretary of State’s remarks. First of all, I’m very happy to be back. This is India’s first cabinet-level visit to the new administration, and I’m certainly glad to see someone as a counterpart with whom I’ve worked for many years. We have a lot of issues to discuss.”

I think our relationship has gotten stronger over the years and I’m very confident that they will continue to do so,” said Sugarson. But I also want to take this opportunity to express to the secretary of state and through him to the administration, to express to the United States, the strong support and solidarity of the United States in a time of great difficulty for us. So, as he said, we have a lot to talk about, but I think that’s what I should express.”