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Issue of human rights of minorities discussed with Indian ministers: US Defence Secretary Austin

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday mentioned he discussed the problem of human rights of minorities in India with the Union ministers right here, whereas noting that companions want to have the ability to have such exchanges.

Replying to a query on the Sino-India border row in jap Ladakh at a media briefing, Austin additionally mentioned that the US by no means thought that India and China have been on the threshold of a warfare.

When requested whether or not he discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the alleged violations of human rights notably towards minorities in India, Austin mentioned he didn’t have the chance to speak about it with him.

“I did not have an opportunity to talk with him about that. Having said that I did have a conversation with other members of the cabinet on this issue,” he instructed the choose media briefing.

“I think we have to remember that India is our partner whose partnership we value. And I think partners need to be able to have those kinds of discussions. And certainly, we feel comfortable in doing that and you can have those discussions in a very meaningful way and still make progress,” the US Defence Secretary mentioned.

Earlier within the day, Austin held in depth talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh throughout which they resolved to additional consolidate India-US defence ties by means of deeper military-to-military engagement with the US describing the partnership. Later, he met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

According to sources, throughout his one-hour assembly with Jaishankar, Austin mentioned as the 2 largest democracies on the earth, human rights and values are essential, and the US will lead with these values.

Jaishankar agreed and emphasised {that a} sturdy relationship between the 2 democracies was not solely essential for each nations however for the remainder of the world.

Asked whether or not he shares issues expressed by Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the highly effective Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on democracy and human rights points in India, Austin referred to President Biden’s views on it.

“You have heard President Biden say that human rights and rule of law are important to the United States of America. We always lead with our values. As a democracy that is pretty important to us. India is a democratic country and you treasure your values as well. There are a number of things that we can and will work on together,” he mentioned.

While democracy and human rights points don’t come beneath the area of the Pentagon, Menendez, in a letter, urged Austin to boost these issues throughout his conferences with Indian leaders.

To a separate query on whether or not the US in any level of time thought that an warfare between India and China was imminent, he mentioned by no means.

“No to my knowledge. We have never considered that India and China are on the threshold of war,” Secretary Austin replied.

Asked about methods to counter China’s aggressive behaviour, the US Defence Secretary mentioned Washington will proceed to work with like-minded nations like India, Australia, Japan and others within the area.

“We are doing the right things to promote peace and stability in the region. We really work together to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Working together with like minded countries who have shared interests is the way to check any aggression in any region. You can look forward to us to continue to do that,” he mentioned.

Austin flew into India on Friday as half of his three-nation first abroad tour that signalled the Biden administration’s sturdy dedication to its relations with its shut allies and companions within the Indo-Pacific area. He visited Japan and South Korea earlier than arriving right here.

On Friday, Austin known as on Prime Minister Modi and held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

The sources mentioned discussions throughout Jaishankar-Austin assembly targeted on the strategic state of affairs within the Indo-Pacific. and the US facet briefed concerning the latest visits in East Asia.

Jaishankar spoke about India’s present safety challenges and its long run strategic outlook.

Conversation additionally lined altering international situations, together with Europe and West Asia, the sources mentioned.

They mentioned Afghanistan was addressed in some element and assessments have been exchanged on the peace course of and the bottom state of affairs, as additionally the issues and pursuits of regional powers and neighbours.

Jaishankar appreciated the Biden administration’s engagement with India on this situation, the sources mentioned.

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