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India's strong ties with Western nations getting better by the day: Jaishankar

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India's strong ties with Western nations getting better by the day: Jaishankar

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) India has an extremely strong relationship with Western countries which is getting better by the day, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said at the ongoing 60th Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

The minister was speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Growing the Pie: Seizing Shared Opportunities’, which he attended along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock.

Responding to a question by Financial Times’ Roula Khalaf on the rise of BRICS as a challenge to the West, the minister said that it is important to make a distinction between “being non-West and anti-West” in today’s times.

“I think it’s important today to make a distinction between being non-West and anti-West. I would certainly characterise India as a country, which is non-West… which has an extremely strong relationship with Western countries getting better by the day,” Jaishankar said.

Calling BRICS a “very interesting group”, Jaishankar said, “It is geographically as disparate as it can be. Yet, it is bound by the fact that these discussions we’ve had over a decade-and-a-half have been very useful for all of us.”

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Carrying forward the discussion, Blinken said that the relationship between India and the United States “is the strongest it has ever been”.

“What we don’t need to do and what we’re not doing is trying to somehow design the world to rigid blocks… The relationship between our countries, I would argue, is the strongest it has ever been,” Blinken said.

“(It) Makes no difference that India happens to be a leading member of BRICS, we are leading member of the G7… We have a multiplicity of things that we’re doing together every single day in different ways of organising ourselves,” the Secretary of State added.

Jaishankar and Blinken also met on Friday on the sidelines of the conference to discuss maritime security in the Red Sea.

“Secretary Blinken highlighted that the respective US and Indian approaches to maritime security in the Red Sea are mutually reinforcing and play important roles in safeguarding economic stability in the region,” US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement released on Friday.

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Miller added that the two leaders also discussed ongoing work to ensure lasting peace and security in the Middle East.

Taking to social media platform X, Jaishankar said his talks with Blinken centered on the situation in Ukraine, West Asia, and the Indo-Pacific, in addition to reviewing “continuing progress” in bilateral ties.

–IANS

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