New Delhi: In a strong testimony to enhance ties, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Wednesday, Oct 6, held a series of key meetings with Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla and NSA Ajit Doval and asserted that Washington firmly stands for India's 'national security'.
In yet another crucial statement a day before reaching Pakistan, the US Deputy Secretary of State said, "No country is in a rush to recognize or give legitimacy to the Taliban".
"The Deputy Secretary assured the Foreign Secretary of the United States' ongoing commitment to India's national security," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
She also said that India and the US have "one mind and one approach" on developments in Afghanistan.
The Deputy Secretary and Foreign Secretary also reviewed pressing regional and global security issues, including Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, and China, and discussed ongoing efforts to return Myanmar to a path to democracy.
"The two expressed their mutual commitment to upholding democracy and human rights and agreed on the importance of continued close cooperation on shared global challenges," Ned Price said.
They discussed Afghanistan and Pakistan issues during their meeting. There was a lot of meeting of minds on Afghanistan between the two sides.:
"They discussed issues of regional interest, especially the evolving situation in Afghanistan, as well as developments at the UN. Reiterated commitment for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, including through continued cooperation under the Quad," MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said – "Deputy Secretary Sherman expressed the United States' gratitude for Prime Minister Modi's announcement that India, which is the world's largest vaccine producer, would soon resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines."
Noting that the US appreciates India's concerns over the spread of terrorism from Afghanistan, she told journalists that Washington is putting together a robust programme for "over-the-horizon" capability for Afghanistan but did not elaborate on it.
She also said – "Taliban must act, and not just speak".
According to media reports, the US Deputy Secretary of State also hoped that the US and India would resolve the differences over India getting a batch of S-400 air defence missile systems from Russia. Sherman said President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken would decide on sanctions on the S-400 deal.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhary has said on Tuesday that the first batch of the S-400 missile defence system will arrive in India by this year.
"We have been quite public about any country that decides to use the S-400. We think that is dangerous and not in anybody's security interest. That said, we have a strong partnership with India," Sherman underlined.
Ms Sherman's visit to Pakistan would be important and will be seen with much keenness. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is still awaiting a courtesy tele-talk with President Biden. Both the leaders have not yet had any such conversation since Biden took over earlier this year. There has to be some concerted effort by Pakistani officials in meetings with Ms Sherman to dispel the global notion that authorities in Islamabad have always played double games when it comes to the global war against terror.