Anthony Blinken mayvisit India ‘very soon’

US. Secretary of State An-
thony Blinken is expected to
make his first visit to India
“very soon”, sources said,
indicating that planning for
the visit is under way for a
meeting as early as next
week.
“The dates are still being
fnalised,” an ofcial told
The Hindu, confrming the
visit, while another ofcial
said meetings were being
scheduled in New Delhi at
the “end of July”.
Mr. Blinken’s visit is ex-
pected to prepare the way
for the Quad summit and bi-
lateral meetings between
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and U.S. President Jo-
seph Biden due to be held in
Washington later this year,
and is also expected to dis-
cuss the emerging situation
in Afghanistan, including
Taliban advances after the
U.S. troop pull-out with In-
dian ofcials. Mr. Blinken’s
proposed visit, which is yet
to be announced, could
coincide with the 3-day visit
of Afghanistan Army Chief
Lt. Gen. Wali Mohammad
Ahmadzai to Delhi.
India and the U.S. have a
wide array of bilateral rela-
tions to discuss and Mr. Bi-
den has made it clear that
the America’s Indo-Pacifc
strategy that includes India
is an area of importance,
particularly given increasing
tensions between the U.S.
and China.
India and the U.S. have
pending talks on a free trade
agreement and India’s de-
mand for a restoration of its
GSP status for exports, res-
cinded by the previous
Trump administration, and
the two sides will discuss
improving economic, de-
fence, energy cooperation,
and cooperation on coun-
tering COVID-19. The U.S.’s
Quad initiative to produce a
billion vaccines is based on
Indian production.

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