EAM Jaishankar meets US Secretary Blinken amid India-Canada diplomatic row

The latest diplomatic crisis between two of America's friends is expected to come up prominently during the talks

Washington: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken here and discussed ways to further the bilateral ties, amid the diplomatic row between India and Canada over the killing of a Khalistani separatist.

"Good to be back here. And we, of course, had the prime minister here this summer. Thanks to the US for all the support to the G20 Summit," Jaishankar said while appearing before the media along with Blinken ahead of the meeting held at the State Department.

Blinken said he had "very good discussions" over the last few weeks including at the G20 and on the margins of the UN General Assembly session in New York. He said he was looking forward to his discussions with the Indian counterpart.

The two leaders did not take any questions from the media.

Although officials from both sides are tightlipped about the agenda of the meeting, the latest diplomatic crisis between two of America's friends is expected to come up prominently during the talks.

"I will not speak publicly about what Secretary Blinken will say in their meeting before he has a chance to say directly to his counterpart. But, we have consistently engaged with the Indian Government on this question, and I've urged them to cooperate, and that engagement and urge for them to cooperate will continue," State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said while responding to a question on the diplomatic standoff between India and Canada.

Responding to another question, he said will not comment on intelligence matters.

While the meeting between the two top diplomats was scheduled much before the Canadian crisis broke out, the US has been urging India to cooperate in the Canadian investigation into the killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia early this year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has alleged that the Indian government was behind the killing of Nijjar on June 18. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. India has rejected the allegations as "absurd" and "motivated".

Jaishankar, who arrived here from New York on Wednesday after addressing the 78th General Assembly session of the United Nations on Tuesday, earlier in the day met US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and discussed the progress in bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to take it forward.

"Began my Washington DC visit with a meeting with NSA @JakeSullivan46. Recognised the tremendous progress in our bilateral relationship this year and discussed taking it forward," Jaishankar said in a post on X.

He also met US Trade Representative Katherine Tie and discussed the growing economic ties between Washington and New Delhi.

"Good to see with US Trade Representative @AmbassadorTai. Spoke about our expanding trade and economic relationship and its broader significance," the minister said in a post on X.

During his stay in Washington, the external affairs minister is expected to have a series of meetings with senior officials of the Biden administration, review the progress made between the two countries after the historic State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and talk about other regional and global issues.

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