Antony Blinken may meet PM Modi during India visit next week
Antony Blinken in his maiden India visit may hold bilateral talks with foreign minister S Jaishankar issues including Covid-19 vaccines and Afghanistan crisis.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is likely to visit India on his maiden trip next week since assuming charges under the Biden Administration in January, according to news agency ANI quoting government officials familiar with the development.
While Blinken would hold a bilateral discussion with India's external affairs minister S Jaishankar the US diplomat may also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the visit, which the news agency said could be between July 27 and July 28. However, an official announcement on the visit is awaited.
Jaishankar and Blinken have met thrice in the past one year, with the latest coinciding with the Indian foreign minister's visit to the United States in May.
During the visit, the two leaders spoke on a wide range of issues, including Covid-19 relief, efforts to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Quad initiative, the security situation in Afghanistan and combatting climate change, among others.
The Quad, also known as Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India during which the countries discuss economic and military cooperation.
Blinken and Jaishankar may talk on a range of issues in New Delhi, including Covid-19 vaccines, the security crisis in Afghanistan in the aftermath of US troop pullout and China assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
Blinken would be the second top official of the Biden Administration to visit India after US Secretary of Defence Llyod J Austin flew to New Delhi in March.
Blinken's visit also assumes in significance ahead of the Quad summit in October when US President Joe Biden would host the leaders of Australia, India and Japan.