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A desi ‘autocade’ & ‘on the move’ meet with Lavrov — highlights from Blinken’s India visit

Asked whether he was enjoying his time in India, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his ‘only frustration’ was not being able to stay a bit longer.

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New Delhi: A video of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken taking a spin in an ‘autocade’ is going viral, to the amusement of Indians and Americans alike. In the video, Blinken, who was in the capital for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, can be seen riding an autorickshaw, driven by a US embassy official with an entourage of other vehicles in tow.

“I’m a very safe driver,” the official driving the three-wheeler can be heard telling Blinken. “We’re in your hands. See you on the other side,” he responds with a smile as they drive around the embassy premises. The autorickshaws part of Blinken’s ‘autocade’ seem jazzed up, with the one carrying him having a leopard print curtain, through which he steps out.

“It’s been great as always. My only frustration is not being able to stay a bit longer,” he says when asked whether he is enjoying his time in India. 

“A pleasure to meet with our staff from @USAndIndia, @USAndHyderabad, @USAndKolkat @USAndChennai,@USAndMumbai and their families. I’m deeply grateful for their hard work and commitment to strengthen our people to people ties and advance the #USIndia strategic partnership,” the US diplomat had said in a tweet Friday.

He called the US-India partnership “consequential” and added that his visit reflects the strategic relationship between the two countries. “Thankful for India’s hospitality and leadership, and ready to partner on the ambitious agenda for their G20 presidency,” he said in another tweet.

Also Read: Blinken backs Modi’s line on multilateralism in crisis, but says there are ‘workarounds’

Blinken & Lavrov spoke ‘on the move’

Blinken’s visit to Delhi marked the first time US and Russia’s top diplomats met face-to-face since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which completed a year last month. Urging his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov — who was also in Delhi for the G20 meeting — to end the war, Blinken reportedly said Russia should reverse its suspension of the New START (nuclear) Treaty.

According to the Russian foreign ministry, the two spoke “on the move” for less than 10 minutes.

“I told the foreign minister (Lavrov) that no matter what else is happening in the world or in our relationship, the United States will always be ready to engage and act on strategic arms control, just as the United States and the Soviet Union did even at the height of the Cold War,” Blinken told reporters at a press conference in Delhi. 

“We must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression and withdraw from Ukraine for the sake of international peace and economic stability,” Blinken added, according to remarks released later by the US State Department.

Also Read: Want India and China to be friends, says Russia’s Lavrov, offers to help calm tensions


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