Amid the ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada over killing of a Khalistani terrorist, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday (28 September) met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The meeting between Jaishankar and Blinken comes as the US is attempting to navigate the dispute between its northern neighbour and NATO ally Canada, and India which is crucial to its Indo-Pacific strategy of countering China's influence in the South Asian region.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had earlier last week alleged involvement of India in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June in Canada.
India, however, strongly rejected the allegations, calling them "absurd" and "motivated".
During a brief meeting with reporters, neither Blinken nor Jaishankar directly addressed the controversy that has strained relations between Canada and India.
However, a US official reportedly said that the topic was raised during the private talks, and Blinken encouraged India to cooperate with the Canadian investigation.
Ahead of the meeting, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters that the United States was continuously engaged "with the Indian government on this question and have urged them to cooperate".
However, a US readout of the meeting skipped any mention of the India-Canada diplomatic row.
In a statement after the meeting, Miller said that the two leaders discussed "a full range of issues, including key outcomes of India’s G20 presidency, and the creation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor and its potential to generate transparent, sustainable, and high-standard infrastructure investments".
They also emphasized the "continued importance of cooperation ahead of the upcoming 2+2 Dialogue, in particular in the areas of defense, space, and clean energy".
The “2+2” dialogue is a format for meetings between the U.S. and Indian foreign and defence ministers.
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