Blinken’s visit, India and the US discussed regional security and Covid-19 help


In the context of shared worry over China’s growing aggressiveness, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that ties between India and the US would be crucial for bringing prosperity to the Indo-Pacific region. India was a key foreign policy priority for the US.
Mr. Blinken, who is in India for a visit, spoke with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on enhancing vaccine production, the Quadrilateral Security Forum, bilateral trade, and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, among other topics.
Mr. Blinken pledged an additional US$25 million (S$34 million) to strengthen vaccine supply chain logistics, combat vaccination hesitancy, and help train healthcare professionals in India, bringing the total to US$200 million.
The two sides also talked about the Quadrilateral Security Forum’s (Quad) vaccine program, which aims to deliver one billion doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2022, emphasizing Southeast Asia. The US, Japan, India, and Australia make up the Quad.
India’s pharmaceutical manufacturing prowess is critical to the Quad vaccination project. However, when the virus resurfaced in a fatal second wave, India shifted its focus to its local immunization effort and halted all exports. India has not stated when shipments will resume.


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