Foreign Secretary speaks with U.S. counterpart on Russia

Wendy Sherman. File

Wendy Sherman. File

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla spoke to his U.S. counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, on Thursday. The tensions between Russia and Ukraine and Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s borders, which the U.S. readout of the meeting described as “concerning,” featured in the “broad range of issues,” according to the U.S. side.

MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi described the conversation as ‘wide ranging’ in a tweet, but did not specifically mention Russia.

“Inter alia [they] reviewed upcoming bilateral engagements and the COVID pandemic, including supply of vaccines, and exchanged views on Indo-Pacific, Middle East, UNSC, India’s neighborhood, etc,” Mr. Bagchi tweeted.

Host of issues

“They discussed a broad range of issues including Russia’s concerning military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and regional issues. Deputy Secretary Sherman and Foreign Secretary Shringla agreed to remain closely coordinated on shared goals and priorities and reiterated the importance of a strong U.S.-India partnership to mitigate the COVID-19 Omicron variant’s rapid advance,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in the statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had visited New Delhi in early December for a bilateral summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India has recently taken delivery of the S-400 Triumf missile defence system from Russia – a complicating factor in the India-U.S. relationship, as it could potentially attract sanctions from Washington. India and the U.S. were planning to hold their annual ‘2+2’ meeting of defence and foreign ministers in early December, but this had to be postponed due to Mr. Putin’s visit, as per reports.

In Keiv on Wednesday for a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy , U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Russia could attack Ukraine “at very short notice,” Reuters reported. Mr. Blinken is also meeting U.S. allies in Berlin this week followed by a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva on Friday, as tensions run high between the West and Russia.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 10:56:04 am |