Secretary Of State Anthony Blinken’s Maiden Visit Likely Soon
(This was originally posted in The Economic Times by Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury)
Plans are afoot to organise a visit of US secretary of state Anthony Blinken to India in the next few weeks. He is expected to discuss issues ranging from Indo-Pacific region to Afghanistan with his counterpart during the visit. While the two sides are working out details for an early visit, government insiders told ET that Blinken’s visit would also help prepare for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed bilateral visit to the US later this year.
Quad action plan is expected to figure prominently in Blinken’s talks agenda with his Indian counterpart and other stakeholders. Vaccine diplomacy under the Quad has gained pominence since the first Quad summit held virtually. Quad leaders are expected to meet later this year for their first physical summit. The evolving situation in Afghanistan amid Taliban surge and Doha peace talks are expected to figure during Blinken’s trip amid formation of the US-led Quad for Afghan theatre. Vaccine supplies to India from US pharma giants will also figure in the talks.
This will be Blinken’s fourth meeting with Jaishankar. The two had met in London on the sidelines of G-7 foreign ministers meet, in Italy on the sidelines of G-20 foreign ministers meet, besides when Jaishankar travelled to the US on a bilateral trip. In their last meeting in Italy, the two ministers had discussed the Indo-Pacific region where China had strengthened its influence besides the Afghan situation. Defence secretary Lloyd Austin was the first major visitor of the Biden administration, in India early this year.