WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will converse subsequent week in India about supporting Afghanistan as worries develop in New Delhi about Taliban beneficial properties amid the top of the two-decade US army mission, officers stated Friday.

On his first go to to the rising US ally since taking workplace, Blinken will even look to renew work collectively on supplying Covid-19 vaccines and discover larger safety and cyber cooperation, officers stated.

Blinken will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and International Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on the journey Wednesday and afterward maintain separate talks in Kuwait.

Dean Thompson, the highest US diplomat for South Asia, stated that Blinken would welcome India’s “shared dedication to peace and supporting financial growth in Afghanistan,” the place New Delhi has pumped in some $three billion for the reason that US invasion overthrew the Taliban regime following the September 11, 2001 assaults.

“We anticipate that every one the nations within the area have a shared curiosity in a secure and safe Afghanistan going ahead and so we will definitely be taking a look at speaking with our Indian companions about how we will work collectively to appreciate that aim,” Thompson informed reporters.

President Joe Biden has ordered an finish to the longest-ever US battle by the top of August, saying that nothing extra could be achieved militarily — regardless of speedy beneficial properties on the bottom by Taliban insurgents.

The Taliban welcomed virulently anti-Indian extremists when the Sunni Muslim militants dominated Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, with an Indian civilian airliner hijacked to the Taliban bastion of Kandahar in 1999.

India’s enthusiastic help for the Afghan authorities, together with serving to construct a brand new parliament constructing, has fueled suspicions in its historic rival Pakistan which was the principle worldwide backer of the Taliban regime.

India not too long ago evacuated 50 diplomats and others from its consulate in Kandahar though it insisted personnel would return as quickly as safety improves.

– Rights to be addressed –

US and Indian governments throughout celebration strains have been constructing nearer relations for the reason that late 1990s because the world’s two largest democracies see shared pursuits on a rising China, Islamist extremism and different challenges.

However Biden, in a shift in tone if not substance from his predecessor Donald Trump, as a candidate voiced refined criticism of Modi’s Hindu nationalist authorities over controversial steps together with a citizenship legislation that critics say discriminates in opposition to the Muslim minority.

Thompson stated the US “will elevate” human rights points however added: “We firmly consider that we now have extra values in frequent on these fronts than we do not.”

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We additionally anticipate to debate developments within the Indo-Pacific area with our Indian companions. One of many first multilateral occasions that President Biden hosted this yr was a Quad summit along with his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia. The Quad leaders agreed on a shared imaginative and prescient for the area, one which’s free, open, inclusive, wholesome, anchored by democratic values and respect for human rights, and the place sovereignty is safeguarded. We’re working with India and different buddies and companions within the area to advance this shared imaginative and prescient of the Indo-Pacific. Importantly, we’ll additionally talk about our well being collaboration to fight COVID-19, together with the Quad vaccine partnership that was first introduced throughout President Biden’s Quad summit.

MR THOMPSON: Thanks, Tracey. Yeah, I feel it’s truthful to say that we see the connection persevering with at a really excessive degree, and India will after all stay an extremely essential companion. We’re going to proceed pursuing our international complete strategic partnership, and I feel by advantage of the President making the Quad and our partnership with India very excessive priorities proper on the outset of this administration, it units the tone for what we predict we will obtain and achieve with them, and with our different companions as effectively. So. I’d anticipate to proceed the dialogues that we’ve had on all these fronts.

And with respect to the human rights and democracy query, sure, you’re proper; I’ll let you know that we are going to elevate it, and we are going to proceed that dialog, as a result of we firmly consider that we now have extra values in frequent on these fronts than we don’t. And we consider India goes to be a extremely essential a part of persevering with these conversations and constructing robust efforts on these fronts in partnership as we go ahead.

The connection with India is a powerful one which has endured by means of administrations of all colours and stripes in the US, and can proceed to take action. So, we’re trying ahead to this chance for the Secretary to speak with Prime Minister Modi, with EAM Jaishankar, and proceed to pursue the myriad areas of frequent curiosity that we now have. Thanks.

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