India developed ties with Russia as US couldn't do it earlier: Blinken
Asserting that now there is a growing strategic convergence between the United States and India, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said New Delhi built its partnership with Moscow out of necessity as the US was not in a position to do that earlier.
"In the case of India, there is a relationship that goes back decades. And Russia, for India, was out of necessity a partner of choice when we were not in a position to be a partner," he told lawmakers on Wednesday.
"Now, we are investing in that effort. I think there is a growing strategic convergence between the United States and India," Blinken said.
"And of course, China is a big part of that," Blinken said in response to a question from Senator William Hagerty during a Congressional hearing by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations.
Hagerty had sought Blinken's views on the India-US relationship.
"What I see before us is something I'm certain that is very frustrating in the short-term when we have our differences and you deal with that every day," Hagerty said.
"But in the long-term, the strategic partnership that we have with India I think poses the opportunity to do more good in the 21st century," he said.
Blinken in response said he very much shares the perspective shared by the Senator.
"I think this partnership has the potential to be one of the most important and foundational partnerships that we have going forward over the next decades," he said.
Blinken said US President Joe Biden has spent "a lot of time directly engaging with Prime Minister Modi and India's leadership". "We have energised the Quad that brings India together with Australia and Japan and us. This has been a very important vehicle for strengthening our collaboration across a whole variety of fronts with India," he said.
"What's interesting is this is a moment of strategic inflection, by which I mean this. A number of countries are now relooking at some of their relationships and some of their interests, particularly when it comes to their relationship with Russia," added the top American diplomat.
Modi, Biden to meet
US President Joe Biden will travel to South Korea and Japan next month and attend the QUAD summit in Tokyo, during which he will also meet India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House has said. Biden's trip to South Korea and Japan has been scheduled for May 20 to 24.
"This trip will advance the Biden-Harris Administration's rock-solid commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday here. Biden will also hold bilateral meetings with South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan.
"The leaders will discuss opportunities to deepen our vital security relationships, enhance economic ties and expand our close cooperation to deliver practical results. In Tokyo, President Biden will also meet the leaders of the Quad grouping of Australia, Japan, India and the United States. We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon," Psaki said.