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Blake embarks on visit to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan

world Updated: Mar 17, 2010 11:03 IST
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Close on the heels of Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's ongoing visit to Washington, a top US diplomat is embarking on a visit to India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake, who is leaving Wednesday, will be having consultations with Indian and American business representatives as well as discussions with his counterparts in the Ministry of External Affairs, officials said.

Rao, who Monday delivered a blunt warning to Pakistan to stop encouraging terror targeted at India, Tuesday met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after a meeting with her US counterpart, Under Secretary of State Bill Burns.

State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley told reporters on Tuesday that the Clinton-Rao meeting "is part of the ongoing dialogue that we have with India on our strategic dialogue."

Crowley said Blake will will also deliver a keynote address at the Asia Society Corporate Conference in New Delhi on March 20.

In Afghanistan, he will meet with embassy officials and travel to Kunduz to meet with local officials and visit with one of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams there, he said.

In Pakistan, he will meet with federal and provincial officials, civil society representatives, religious leaders, and business representatives in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore.

He will also hold consultations with the European Union in Brussels about ongoing US dialogue in South and Central Asia, Crowley said.