New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on a quick maiden visit to India, today held extensive talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar after meeting National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval. The talks covered an extensive agenda that included the rapidly evolving security situation in Afghanistan, ways to boost Indo-Pacific engagement and enhancing COVID-19 response efforts among others.Also Read - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in India: Security Situation in Afghanistan, Covid Response Among Key Agendas

During his talks with Jaishankar, Blinken said “there’s greater imperative on cooperation among countries than ever before”. “There isn’t a challenge that doesn’t have impact on lives of our citizens whether it’s COVID, disruptive impact of emerging technologies, that can be addressed by any one of us acting alone. There’s greater imperative on cooperation among countries than ever before,” the US Secretary of State said.

“I deeply appreciate the work that we have been able to do together and the work that we are going to do together in coming months,” Blinken said.

Meanwhile, EAM S Jaishankar said, “peace & prosperity in Indo-Pacific is as important for both of us as democratic stability in Afghanistan. Deepening Quad as a collaborative platform is in our mutual interest & we must work together even more closely on key contemporary challenges like terrorism.”

Before meeting Jaishankar, Blinken held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on a range of bilateral and regional issues including the security situation in Afghanistan.

Earlier, Blinken met civil society leaders after which he said the US and India share a commitment to democratic values and it is part of the bedrock of the relationship.

“I was pleased to meet civil society leaders today. The US and India share a commitment to democratic values; this is part of the bedrock of our relationship and reflective of India’s pluralistic society and history of harmony. Civil society helps advance these values,” he tweeted.

According to a media advisory released by the Ministry of External Affairs, Blinken will be in Delhi for a little over 20 hours. Blinken is expected to call on Prime Minister Modi at 4:30 pm before leaving for Kuwait at 5:30 PM.

It is Blinken’s first visit to India after assuming charge as the US Secretary of State and the third by a high-ranking Biden administration official after it came to power in January.

As Blinken arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday evening, the US State Department said the US supports India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion.

“India is a leading global power and a key U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” it said in a fact sheet on ties between the two countries.

(With agency inputs)