- Blinken, on the other hand, brushed off criticism from India, including jokes from Jaishankar on other platforms, about the latest F-16 deal with Pakistan.
- Jaishankar almost scolded Washington at a different event on Monday for giving arms to Pakistan, saying that it helped neither Pakistan nor the US. Pakistan's foreign minister
Even though the U.S. is worried about India’s continued arms and energy ties with Russia and India is worried about the U.S.’s F-16 sustainment programme with Pakistan, this won’t stop the two countries from bringing their “close ties even closer,” top officials from both countries said at the end of bilateral talks on Tuesday.
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, and S. Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, chose to look at the bigger picture and be optimistic about bilateral relations, even though they talked about their differences, which seemed to have gotten smaller on some issues, like Ukraine.
Blinken praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advice to President Putin that “now is not the time for war” over and over again. He also praised India’s commitment to the UN charter, which was an indirect criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Jaishankar, for his part, said that India is helping to defuse the crisis in a quiet, behind-the-scenes way, especially when it comes to the disruption of food, fuel, and fertiliser supplies, which was affecting the global south the most. This was partly at the request of Ukraine and the UN Secretary General.
When asked why New Delhi still bought defence and energy from Russia, Jaishankar pushed back hard, saying, “We make a choice we think is in our national interest.” He disagreed with the idea, mostly from the West, that India has problems with Russian equipment. He said that New Delhi now has a tradition of getting things from more than one place. “In the past 15 years, we’ve bought a lot from the US, including C-19s, P8s, Apaches, Chinooks, Howitzers, etc.,” he said. “Now, we’re trying to figure out how to get the best deal from competitors.”
Blinken, on the other hand, brushed off criticism from India, including jokes from Jaishankar on other platforms, about the latest F-16 deal with Pakistan. He said that it was a maintenance programme for jets that Washington had already given to Pakistan and that it was meant for anti-terrorism operations.
“These are not new planes. We have a duty and a responsibility to keep the planes we already have in good shape. It will help Pakistan fight terrorism better, which is good for all of us.” Even though he didn’t answer the specific Indian criticism, he said that the F-16s had nothing to do with fighting terrorism and were only meant to be used against India.
In fact, Jaishankar almost scolded Washington at a different event on Monday for giving arms to Pakistan, saying that it helped neither Pakistan nor the US. Pakistan’s foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is also in Washington DC. He met with Blinken on Monday and was told by the US delegation that Pakistan should work to improve relations with India.
But the problems with the F-16 and Russia didn’t do much to hurt US-India relations, which Jaishankar said he was “bullish” about. “No other country has as much power, opportunity, and responsibility to shape the future as the United States. We are thinking and working as a group. That doesn’t mean we don’t have differences, because we do, but we have enough depth and quality to get past them “Blinken said.