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Blinken to meet PM Modi next week, China, Covid, Afghanistan in focus

Blinken to meet PM Modi next week, China, Covid, Afghanistan in focus

New York: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit India next week to discuss China, the coronavirus response and Afghanistan.

Blinken is scheduled to travel to New Delhi and Kuwait on July 26-29 and will meet India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit starting July 27.

This is Blinken's first visit to India after assuming charge as US Secretary of State and comes barely a month ahead of US military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"I think it's fair to say that we see the relationship continuing at a very high level and India will, of course, remain an incredibly important partner. We're going to continue pursuing our global comprehensive strategic partnership," Dean Thompson, the top US diplomat for South and Central Asia, told reporters Friday.

The US Secretary of State will be seeking India's support in a "stable and secure" Afghanistan, Thompson said.

The US launched multiple airstrikes this week in support of Afghan government forces fighting the Taliban. The Biden administration has not said whether it will continue that support after the pullout is complete, on August 31.

Talking about the Trump-Modi vs Biden-Modi relationship, Thompson said the Quad partnership "sets the tone" for what the US thinks it can achieve and accomplish with India as well as the other Quad partners Australia and Japan.

"You know, the relationship with India is a strong one it has, has endured through administrations of all colours and stripes in the US and will continue to do so," noted Thompson. "So we're looking forward to this opportunity for the Secretary to talk with Prime Minister Modi."

Meanwhile, Blinken is said to be considering an in-person meeting of the Quad by year-end -- but details about timing and format are still unclear.

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TAGS:Blinken PM Modi India-US ties 
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