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India, US leaders discuss partnership

New York, May 22: India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh and US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan discussed the strategic partnership between the two countries at their meeting in Buenos Aires on Monday. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “The two leaders affirmed the strong US-India strategic partnership and India’s status as a Major Defence Partner of the US.” Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in the Argentine capital, they also discussed the agenda for the forthcoming 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, that will bring together India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis, she said.

Nauert said that Singh and Sullivan also discussed “opportunities to advance stability in Afghanistan and the region” where Trump assigned a role for India in helping deal with Afghanistan. “We want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development,” he said while outlining his policy for Afghanistan. Singh visited North Korea last week – the first ministerial visit from India in about 20 years – weeks before a scheduled meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12. Nauert’s statement made no mention of North Korea.

Singh met Vice President Kim Yong Dae, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Culture Minister Pak Chun Nam during the two-day visit. In Buenos Aires, Singh also met Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, according to a tweet by an official for the president’s G20 office. Group of Twenty — or G20 — brings together 19 developed and developing countries and the European Union to discuss economic issues. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita