EAM Jaishankar expressed his gratitude to the Joe Biden administration for its 'exceptional support' to India during the dangerous second phase of Covid-19

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Wednesday expressed his gratitude to the Joe Biden administration for its 'exceptional support' to India during the dangerous second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in providing raw material for vaccine production in the country.

"I acknowledge the responsiveness of the Biden administration to keeping the raw material supply chain open for vaccine production in India and I say big thanks for the support we received during COVID second wave from the United States, a support that was truly exceptional," the EAM said.

Jaishankar made the remarks during a joint press briefing with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The top US official is in India on a two-day official visit during which both sides are expected to explore ways and means to deepen their collaboration, particularly in the defence domain.

Addressing the media with Blinken on Wednesday, EAM Jaishankar said that their discussion was focussed on expanding Coronavirus vaccine production to make it globally affordable and accessible. The leaders also discussed travel challenges resulting from COVID-19.

"The US has been very forthcoming on students, I appreciate all the trouble that the State Department and the Embassy have gone through in that regard. I hope they will take a sympathetic view of other travellers in the days to come," said Jaishankar.

During the meeting, EAM stressed peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and also focussed on the importance of democratic stability in Afghanistan. He called for a political settlement on the Taliban issue.

"The world wishes to see an independent, democratic, sovereign and stable Afghanistan at peace with itself and with its neighbours. Afghanistan must neither be home to terrorism nor a source of refugees. Peace and prosperity in Indo-Pacific is as important for both of us as democratic stability in Afghanistan," added Jaishankar.

He further stated that deepening the Quad as a collaborative platform is in the mutual interest of the US and India and that both countries must work together even more closely on key contemporary challenges like terrorism.

Antony Blinken In India

With an aim to discuss ways to achieve enhanced diplomatic relations between both countries, the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday arrived in India for a two-day visit. Blinken is scheduled to hold meetings with various Indian leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. This is Blinken's first visit to India after assuming charge as US Secretary of State.