From COVID to economy recovery: Here's what might be on the agenda as Blinken meets Jaishankar, Doval
The secretary of state will kick off his official engagements with a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. It will be followed by a meet and greet with the staff of the US embassy.
As the Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in India on Wednesday, he will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, EAM S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval on Wednesday to 'discuss a wide range of issues including continued cooperation on COVID-19 response efforts and Indo-Pacific engagement'.
The agenda may also have Afghanistan as some time has been set aside for Blinken and Jaishankar to discuss on the bilateral front. India believes the Taliban is lying low and will kick start their offensive phase will start the end of August --- a deadline for US troops withdrawal. Then there is a possibility of change in strategy, and for this reason, upcoming months will be crucial for Afghanistan and around the region. India might also stress the fact that logistical support continues to come from Pakistan and that even President Ghani openly blamed Pakistan in Tashkent for pushing Taliban fighters into Afghan territory. Previously, the US stated that “The United States and India are also closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan.”
With a common China threat, discussions on deepening Quad engagement will be another key focus area. The secretary of state will kick off his official engagements with a meeting with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. It will be followed by a meet and greet with the staff of the US embassy.
The main engagement for the day will be a meeting between Blinken and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, who will host a working lunch for the secretary of state. The two ministers will participate in a joint press interaction before Blinken meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The US and India are closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan, and are also partnering to strengthen the global COVID-19 response, on issues ranging from addressing infectious disease outbreaks to securing global supply chains.