US Secretary of State Blinken to meet PM Modi, S Jaishankar; Afghanistan, Quad and Indo-Pacific on agenda
He may also call on PM Modi during his visit between July 27 and July 28. An official announcement is however awaited.
New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit India next week and hold discussions with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, with Afghanistan and Quad being top on the agenda.
Blinken will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in New Delhi on July 27-28 with Afghanistan-Pak, Indo-Pacific and vaccines on top of the agenda. All official meetings are scheduled on July 28.
The two leaders had previously met on the sidelines of the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in London, during the EAM’s visit to the US and on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Italy.
The US diplomacy is in action from this week with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Japan and scheduled to visit China on Sunday. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will be in Singapore, Vietnam and Philippines next week with Chinese aggression in South China Sea becoming a major election issue in Manila.
The US has been looking at convening the in-person summit with the aim to boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, where China’s military muscle-flexing has become a major concern. The situation in Afghanistan is also high on both countries’ agenda with the Taliban making rapid strides in the war-torn nation following the withdrawal of US troops, which is slated to be completed by August-end.
While the Modi government is tight-lipped about Secretary Blinken's visit, Afghanistan will be on top of the agenda with the Sunni Pashtun Islamists Taliban out to seize Kabul by force with tacit support of Pakistani deep state.
Engagement between the two sides has continued with Jaishankar holding meetings with US Deputy National Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and US Special Representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad last week in Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the connectivity summit, during which the Afghan situation dominated the agenda.
Blinken will be the second top official of the Joe Biden administration to visit India after Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin, who visited New Delhi earlier this year and held talks with Rajanth Singh and also called upon Narendra Modi.
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