The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be visiting India on July 27-28, 2021 for the first time after assuming office.
As the Indian officials look forward to his visit, the government also attaches considerable significance to Blinken’s visit and looks forward to taking forward the conversation with the US on various issues, be it Indo-Pacific, Afghanistan, Bilateral, Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, addressing COVID-19, or the global developments.
The visit by the US State Secretary is the continuance of high-level visits from the Biden Administration after the visits by the US Special Envoy on Climate Change Jon Kerry in April 2021 and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in March 2021.
US State Secretary’s visit to India: What can be expected?
• Issues such as augmenting the trade and investment, and tapping opportunities in education, healthcare, innovation, digital domain, and security, will be important elements of conversation.
• In defence, both India and the US are expected to explore ways and means to deepen the collaboration. This will cover the exercises, policy exchanges, and defence transfers and technologies.
• As both nations grapple with the pandemic, discussions will be held on the containment of the virus and the pandemic recovery efforts.
• India will also press for the gradual resumption of international travel while maintaining the health protocols. It will ease the mobility of business travellers, professionals, humanitarian cases, students, family reunions, etc.
• The need for the resilient supply chains of critical medicines and healthcare equipment is also likely to come up.
• On COVID vaccines, India will continue to push to ensure the open and consistent supply chains for the materials and the items required for the vaccine production, as India increases both the domestic vaccination and for global supplies thereafter.
During Antony Blinken’s two-day visit to India, discussions on deepening the Quad engagement are also expected to be the key focus area, with the possibility of a Foreign Ministerial Quad Meeting later in 2021.
India and the United States will also take forward the Quad vaccine initiative in order to enable the supply of the vaccines produced in India from early 2022 to the nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Massive Violence in Afghanistan:
Massive violence in Afghanistan will be the central issue, the need for sustained pressure on Pakistan on terror financing, implications of the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan and terror havens will also be part of the agenda
Both India and the US will exchange assessments about the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on the economic slowdown, COVID assistance, and the security scenario. The latest developments taking place in Central and West Asia are also likely to be covered.
It remains an important area of conversation between India and the US, particularly the potential for green collaborations as well as climate finance and the transfer of clean technologies to developing nations.
Other global issues:
Political and cultural rebalancing, India’s support to multipolar, democratic, and diverse world order, equity and fairness, whether in climate change, development or global decision-making will also come up.
India’s presidency at UN:
The talks will also cover working together in the United Nations, particularly with India holding the presidency of the United Nations Security Council in August 2021.
EAM Jaishankar’s visit to the US:
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit reciprocates the visit by the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to the US in May 2021.
The two leaders also had detailed conversations this year in the UK (at the G7 Meeting) and Italy (at the G20 Meeting).