Thu, 23 Sep 2021

Washington [US], July 23 (ANI): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his India visit next week to discuss a wide range of issues including Indo-Pacific engagement and shared regional security interests.

Blinken said in a tweet that he will depart for New Delhi on July 26 for a two-day visit. After New Delhi, he will visit Kuwait City on July 28.

Blinken said that he looks forward to strengthening "our important partnerships""On July 26, I'll depart for New Delhi, India and Kuwait City, Kuwait. This trip will underscore the importance of our cooperation on topics like COVID-19 response efforts, shared security interests, and the climate crisis. I look forward to strengthening our important partnerships," he said.

According to a statement by US State Department, Secretary Blinken will meet EAM Jaishankar and PM Modi on July 28 to discuss a wide range of issues including continued cooperation on COVID-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis.

This will be Blinken's first visit to India after assuming charge as US Secretary of State.

Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that Secretary Blinken's visit is an opportunity to continue the high-level bilateral dialogue and bolster the India-US global strategic partnership.

"Both sides will review the robust and multifaceted India-US bilateral relations, and potential for consolidating them further. Discussions will focus on regional and global issues of mutual interest - including recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indo-Pacific region, Afghanistan and cooperation in the United Nations," it said.

The visit holds significance as Afghanistan is witnessing a surge in violence as the Taliban has intensified its offensive against Afghan forces and civilians with the complete pullback of foreign forces just a few weeks away.

The Taliban now control about half of the 419 district centres in Afghanistan, said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As the Taliban seize more territory, the Afghan security forces are consolidating their positions to protect key population centres, including Kabul, he said. (ANI)

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