Having played a key role in shaping the India-US ties over the past few decades, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said he is very bullish about this bilateral relationship. “So very frankly, that’s a long way of saying that I’m very bullish about that relationship,” Jaishankar told reporters at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he responded to a question on his overall sense of the trajectory of the relationship.
“The big change that I have seen in my four decades as a diplomat was actually in the transformation of India-US relations,” he said. “And your question – how do I see the trajectory – quite honestly, I see today a United States very international, very much more to engaging – very much more open to engaging a country like India, which is actually thinking beyond traditional alliances, which has been very effective at finding common ground with potential or actual partners,” Jaishankar said. And a very good example of all this is actually in the Quad – the informal grouping of Australia, Japan, India and the United States. “I mean, the fact was a Quad was something we tried about two decades – 15 years – ago. It didn’t work, and it is working very well today and it’s grown remarkably in the course of the last two years,” he noted.
“So I think for us today the relationship with the US opens up a whole range of possibilities, possibilities not just with the United States, though those are important in themselves because I think at this point of time, there’s so much that India – and I assume the US too – stands to benefit from working with the United States for – whether it’s economy, whether it’s technology, whether security,” Jaishankar said.
“I would say it’s been a very positive experience, a very encouraging one with a lot of promise, of working with the US to shape the direction of the world. I mean, to me that’s really the big jump which we have made, and I think the more we work together, the more we engage each other, I think many more possibilities will come,” said the minister.
Echoing Jaishankar, Blinken said no two countries have a greater ability and opportunity and responsibility to try to shape the future of this century than the United States and India as the world’s two largest democracies. “What is very gratifying to me is the fact that in all of these meetings, in all of these conversations in this ongoing dialogue we have, we are thinking together and working together in ways that we haven’t before,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have differences. We do, and we will. But it also means that because of the depth and quality of the dialogue we have, we talk about everything and work closely together on how we can advance the agenda that we have in common, which – as you’ve heard, I think, from both of us – extends to virtually every issue that is confronting our own citizens and people around the world,” the Secretary of State said.
Blinken appreciated the role of the Indian-American community, which he said does so much to deepen ties between the two countries, as well as to shape the fabric of this country. “And I’d add that we’re also grateful to communities in India, including those of American origin, that are doing their part to strengthen the relationship for the good of both of our countries and both of our peoples,” he said.
In his remarks, Jaishankar said that a large part of his deliberations with Blinken were devoted to the strengthening of their bilateral relationship. “Most of you would readily understand that it has grown very significantly in scope and depth over the last few years. We engage each other across pretty much every domain, and the quality of our cooperation – as indeed of our conversations – have steadily improved,” he said.