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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a special pleasure to be here with my friend and colleague, Foreign Minister Jaishankar.  It’s wonderful to have him at the State Department, and very important as well because the United States and India are working together on so many of the most important challenges of our time and ones that are having a profound impact on the lives of our citizens.  And we are united in confronting COVID-19 together, we’re united in dealing with the challenge posed by climate change, and we are partnered together directly through the Quad and other institutions at the United Nations in dealing with many of the challenges that we face in the region and around the world.

The partnership between the United States and India is vital, it’s strong, and I think it’s increasingly productive.  So I’m very pleased to have the foreign minister here today and we have, as usual, a lot to talk about.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR:  Thank you.  Thank you, Tony.  Well, let me echo the Secretary’s remarks.  It’s first of all a great pleasure to be back.  This is the first cabinet-level visit from India to the new administration, and I’m of course delighted that I see someone as a counterpart with whom I’ve worked for many years.  We have a lot of issues to discuss.  I think our relations have grown stronger over the years, and I’m very confident they’ll continue to do so.  But I also want to take the opportunity to express to the Secretary and through him to the administration, to the United States, for the strong support and solidarity at a moment of great difficulty for us.  So as he said, we have many things to talk about, but I thought that’s something I should express.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  We were – we know.  We remember in the earlier days of COVID, India was there for the United States, something we’ll never forget, and now we want to make sure that we’re there for and with India.

Thank you all very much.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR:  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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