Blinken discusses Myanmar situation with Jaishankar


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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the situation in Myanmar, where a military coup was staged on February 1, with India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

Blinken reaffirmed "the strength of the US-India partnership" and they discussed "issues of mutual concern, including the situation in Burma (Myanmar)" during their conversation on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

"Blinken expressed concern over the military coup and the importance of rule of law and the democratic process in Burma," he said.

Price said that Jaishankar and Blinken "also discussed regional developments, including the value of US-India cooperation across the Indo-Pacific" and they looked forward to "expanded regional cooperation, including through the Quad, and to address the challenges of Covid and climate change".

The Quad is the group of India, the US, Japan and Australia, which was reinvigorated under former President Donald Trump to counter China's aggressive posture in the Indo-Pacific.

Taking to Twitter following the call, the Indian Minister tweeted: "Welcomed the comprehensive discussion today with Secretary Blinken. Reviewed Indo-Pacific developments and the Quad cooperation. Exchanged views on the situation in Myanmar. Look forward to remaining in touch."

Tuesday's was Blinken's second call with Jaishankar since he assumed office and the discussion on Myanmar, which the US insists on referring to as Burma, shows the importance that country's developments have for President Joe Biden's global democracy agenda.

Myanmar also figured in Biden's talk with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

A White House statement after their conversation said that they "resolved that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma".

The President has asserted that promotion of democracy around the world would be among his foreign policy priorities and is facing the test case of Myanmar, where the military has detained former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party and refused to recognise the results of the November 2020 parliamentary elections that gave the NLD a resounding victory.

Biden has threatened to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar, which had been removed as the nation made progress on the road to democracy.

"The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action," he said earlier this month.

While India would also like to see Myanmar return to democracy, it would not want to see coercive action against the military government that would push it closer to China.

Source: IANS

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