American Secretary of State Antony Blinken completed a marathon tour of India on Friday across the Middle East and Asia largely dominated by the conflict between Israel and Hamas, during which he delivered a message of support but also firmness towards its ally Israel.
Speaking to the press shortly before his departure from Delhi, the American diplomacy chief welcomed Israel’s decision to accept a “humanitarian pause” in its offensive north of the Gaza Strip, while noting that “Much remains to be done” to protect Palestinians. civilians.
He emphasized that this daily 4-hour “pause” would make it possible to “save lives” and provide more aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been besieged by the Israeli army since Hamas’ bloody offensive on October 7.
At least 1,400 people were killed in these attacks in Israel, the majority of civilians killed on the same day, according to Israeli authorities.
“At the same time, more must be done to protect civilians and ensure they receive humanitarian assistance,” Blinken added.
“Too many Palestinians are being killed,” he said in a clear message to Israel.
The Hamas Health Ministry said on Thursday that 10,812 people had been killed in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip since October 7.
Mr. Blinken kicked off his marathon tour of Israel last Friday with talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He later visited the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Cyprus, Iraq, Turkey, Japan (to participate in the G7) and South Korea.
India, which was quick to condemn Hamas after the October 7 attack on Israel, declared itself “in solidarity with Israel” and sent aid to Egypt for Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, which Blinken welcomed.
The current conflict poses a major challenge to plans to create a trade route connecting Europe, the Middle East and India, unveiled at the G20 Summit in Delhi in September.
– Strategic partnerships –
In Delhi, the United States and India highlighted their strategic partnership in confronting China’s rise in the Asia-Pacific and in the context of war, also in Ukraine.
Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin participated with their Indian counterparts Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh in the annual “two + two” talks.
“In the face of pressing challenges around the world, it is critical for the world’s two largest democracies to exchange views and achieve common goals in the interests of our two peoples,” Austin said, welcoming increased cooperation in all areas.
Blinken, for his part, emphasized the United States’ renewed commitment to the Asia-Pacific and the need to “promote a region that is free, prosperous, resilient and safe,” as he did in Tokyo. Seoul.
This last expression, for Washington, is a thinly veiled way of criticizing China and its economic, territorial and strategic ambitions in the region.
Jaishankar, for his part, welcomed the “new chapter” in relations between India and the United States, following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit in June.
India, which is a member of the “Quad”, a defense cooperation alliance with the United States, Australia and Japan, positions itself as a bulwark against China’s increasingly assertive ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to Mr Blinken, Washington and Delhi also discussed the dispute between India and Canada, an issue that has embarrassed the American government even though Canada is one of its oldest allies.
Relations between India and Canada soured in September when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly implicated Indian intelligence agencies in the killing of a Canadian of Indian origin.
“As friends of both, we think it is very important for India to work with Canada to resolve their dispute, but this requires Canada to continue its investigation and India to cooperate with Canada,” he said.
“Twitter junkie. Hipster-friendly bacon expert. Beer ninja. Reader. Communicator. Explorer. Passionate alcohol geek.”