Blinken Will Visit India Next Week
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit India next week and will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make his first visit to India next week, since taking office, officials said Friday, amid New Delhi's "escalating concerns about the situation in Afghanistan."
In a statement on Friday, the Indian Foreign Ministry said that Blinken would discuss topics in New Delhi, including "recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indo-Pacific region, Afghanistan and cooperation in the United Nations."
The US State Department said that Blinken would meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar next Wednesday in New Delhi before stopping in Kuwait.
Blinken will make his first visit to India, which drew increasingly close to the United States since the late 1990s, as the world's two largest democracies share common interests over the rise of China's influence, Islamic extremism, and other issues.
It is noteworthy that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited New Delhi as part of his first foreign trip, but Blinken's trip got postponed amid the severe Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at the time that Austin "praised India's leadership role in the Indo-Pacific region, and its commitment with partners on the same wave in the region, to defend common goals."
India was among the supporters of the Afghan government that took power after the US invasion in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
For his part, President Joe Biden ordered US forces out of Afghanistan, ending America's longest war ever by the end of August, saying nothing can be achieved despite the Taliban's rapid territorial gains.