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'Blinken, Jaishankar discuss diplomatic efforts on Russian aggression'
'Blinken, Jaishankar discuss diplomatic efforts on Russian aggression'

New York, Feb 12 (TIWN) India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have discussed cooperation on "diplomatic efforts in response to Russian aggression", State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

At their meeting on Friday in Melbourne, they reviewed the progress "in broadening and deepening the US-India Strategic Partnership, which is critical to promoting peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond", Price said in a statement.

The mention of Russian "aggression" in Price's statement assumes an ominous tone because Blinken said the same day that a Russian invasion "could begin at any time", even during the Beijing Winter Olympics now underway brushing aside speculation that Moscow would not launch an attack during the games.  The Jaishankar-Blinken meeting took place as the White House unveiled its Indo-Pacific strategy that laid down "support India's continued rise and regional leadership" as one of its objectives. 

"We recognise that India is a like-minded partner and leader in South Asia and the Indian Ocean," the strategy crafted by the National Security Council said.  Jaishankar tweeted after his meeting with Blinken: "Our strategic partnership has deepened so visibly."  But he was silent on Russia.  India has officially called for a peaceful resolution of the situation.  New Delhi has put on a delicate balancing act on tensions in Europe where Russia has deployed troops near the borders with Ukraine and the US and Britain warn of an imminent invasion.  When the US brought up Ukraine at the UN Security Council last week, India abstained from voting on a procedural issue in a seeming throwback to its non-alignment.  While India is drawing closer strategically to the US, it is also still dependent on Russia for a sizeable portion of its hardware.  This was the first in-person meeting between Jaishankar and Blinken since they met in October in Rome on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.

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