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Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Before Their Meeting

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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.  We’ve heard the reports from Russia of Aleksey Navalny’s death in prison.  For more than a decade, Russian Government, Putin, have persecuted, poisoned, and imprisoned Aleksey Navalny, and now reports of his death.  First and foremost, if these reports are accurate, our hearts go out to his wife and to his family.  Beyond that, his death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built.  Russia is responsible for this.  We’ll be talking to many other countries concerned about Aleksey Navalny, and especially if these reports bear out to be true.

On a much different note, I’m very pleased to be with my friend and colleague, the external affairs minister of India.  We have an extraordinary partnership between the United States and India that has grown stronger and stronger in recent years, stronger than it’s ever been, and it is for us among the most consequential relationships of any in the world.  We’re working closely on a whole host of vital priorities that are making a difference in the lives of people in India and people in the United States: increasing mutual prosperity, advancing democracy and human rights, addressing climate change, upholding together the rules-based international order.

This work is not just the work of a day or a single meeting, it’s the work of every day, but it’s important to be able to take stock of where we are as well as the many challenges that we’re facing, India and the United States together, both in the region and in the world.  So, I look forward to comparing notes with you about all of that.  Thank you, my friend.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR:  Thank you.  Well, let me just add my words of welcome to the Secretary.  Tony, good to see you, and there’s a lot that we need to talk about.  I’m coming out of the Middle East, myself, been monitoring your travels and efforts there.  I think it’s important today that the very complicated issues there be addressed in an effective manner and the conflict does not escalate.  And, of course, a whole host of other issues – issues in this part of the world, issues in the Indo-Pacific – that we need to talk about.  Very glad to have this opportunity.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR:  Thank you.

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