New Delhi: Discussions between two strategic partners will focus on regional and global issues of mutual interest–including recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indo-Pacific region, Afghanistan and cooperation in the UN.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will be arriving in India on a two-day visit from July 27, and the two sides would take up issues concerning Afghanistan and matters related to the Indo-Pacific region.
"This is Secretary Blinken's first visit to India after assuming charge as US Secretary of State," an MEA release said, adding Secretary Blinken's visit is an opportunity to continue the high-level bilateral dialogue and bolster the India-US global strategic partnership.
Discussions between two strategic partners will focus on regional and global issues of mutual interest–including recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indo-Pacific region, Afghanistan and cooperation in the UN.
India has already flagged off concern about the growing tension in Afghanistan as the Taliban is gaining ground through violence. In all these, things appear quite complex as Afghanistan has also repeatedly targeted Pakistan, saying its military generals are allegedly helping the Taliban.
On July 28, the Secretary of State will meet External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
"Both sides will review the robust and multifaceted India-US bilateral relations, and potential for consolidating them further," it said.
“The visit of Blinken is crucial as it coincides with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban gaining ground by use of force and violence.”
Mr Blinken last visited India as deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration in December 2015.
The state department said Blinken would hold discussions on “a wide range of issues including continued cooperation on Covid-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis.”
In March this year, Secretary of Defence, Lloyd J Austin, was the first top US executive under new President Joe Biden to visit India.
"Cooperation among like-minded countries is imperative for securing our shared vision for the future. Despite today's challenging security environment, the partnership between the United States and India, the world's two largest democracies, remain resilient and strong," Austin had said.
During the SCO foreign ministers' meeting at Dushanbe in Tajikistan, External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar said that a Taliban regime would come to power in war-devastated Afghanistan and its capital Kabul "violence and force," which would not be considered a legitimate dispensation.