July 21, 2021 8:59:07 am
India and the US are looking at the possibility of a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and it could take place as early as next week.
Both sides are in the process of finalising the dates and other relevant details of the visit that would be Blinken’s first trip to India as the US Secretary of State.
The focus of the visit would be to prepare grounds for an in-person summit of leaders of the Quad grouping comprising India, Japan, Australia, and the US in Washington later this year.
The US has been looking at convening the in-person summit of the leaders of Quad to boost practical cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as well as to send a strong signal about Washington’s commitment to the grouping.
Blinken would be the second high-ranking Biden administration official to visit India since it came to power in January.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin paid a three-day visit to India in March to further boost bilateral defence and security ties.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle-flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers.
During Blinken’s India visit, both sides are expected to focus on a range of bilateral and regional issues including the fast-evolving situation in Afghanistan, China’s growing assertiveness in the region and ways to boost cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited the US in May during which he had met senior executives of the leading US pharma companies. The supply of raw materials by the US to India to boost its domestic production was a major focus of Jaishankar’s five-day visit to the US.
It is expected that the situation in Afghanistan will be a major area of focus in the Indo-US talks.
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