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On sidelines of G20 Ministerial, Blinken to hold bilateral talks with Jaishankar and meet QUAD counterparts

Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be in New Delhi next week and will attend a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in the Indian capital, Donald Lu, the top US State Department official on South Asia said.
"They will talk about our strategic partner partnership but really focus on how we're working together in the Asian Quad, in the G20, what we're doing on defence cooperation, and the Initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies that is being run out of the White House and the prime minister's office," he said. Blinken's visit to New Delhi comes after Blinken scrapped a trip to Beijing after an alleged Chinese spy balloon flew over the United States. The United States shot down what it said was a Chinese spy balloon and other flying objects. Asked if China would be a point of discussion between Blinken and Jaishankar, Lu said, "We have had serious conversations about China both before the latest scandal over this surveillance balloon, so I fully expect those conversations will continue."
The Blinken and Jaishankar will also meet with their Australian and Japanese counterparts who are a part of the QUAD Grouping, the US official informed reporters.
"On March 3rd, the Secretary will also participate in a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Asian Quad, which is the United States, India, Japan, and Australia," Donald Lu said.
As reported by ANI earlier this month, Secretary Blinken will also be participating in a panel at the Raisina Dialogue.
"I'm not aware that they've ever had an hour-long public event where the foreign ministers have had a chance to talk about the quad and to demonstrate how is getting tangible and concrete things done in the Indo-Pacific," Lu said during a virtual briefing.
"I think we're going to hear about what we're doing on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief. We'll hear about what we're doing to improve security in the Indo-Pacific, in the Maritime Domain Awareness space. We will talk about achievements on vaccine diplomacy, and then you'll hear about the launch of the Quad fellows programme, and a recent business and investment forum," Donald Lu said.
While in New Delhi, Blinken will be attending the G20 ministerial Meeting that would also include his counterparts from China and Russia. US officials have been tight-lipped about the prospects for Blinken sitting down with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang or Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New Delhi.
"A major multilateral summit like the G-20, of course, lends itself to the potential for bilateral engagements on the margins, but we don't have any specific scheduling updates to offer," deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said. "The United States believes it's important to keep the lines of communication open," Patel further added. (ANI)

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