US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on his first official trip to India, said on Wednesday the two nations share a commitment to democratic values. Blinken held talks with representatives of civil society organisations in Delhi, following which he said democratic values are reflective of India’s pluralistic society and history of harmony.
Taking to Twitter ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, the senior US official wrote, “I was pleased to meet civil society leaders today. The US and India share a commitment to democratic values; this is part of the bedrock of our relationship and reflective of India’s pluralistic society and history of harmony. Civil society helps advance these values.”
Blinken is scheduled to meet the top leaders later in the day. Reports said the situation in Afghanistan, the Covid-19 response and economic recovery and engagements in the Indo-Pacific are set to dominate his meetings with the top Indian leadership.
The third senior member of the Joe Biden administration to visit India this year, Blinken reached the national capital on Tuesday night.
Earlier, the US said it backed India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner to make the Indo-Pacific a region of stability and economic inclusion.
Close on the wheels of Blinken’s visit, US defense secretary Lloyd Austin said China was working against the shared principles and interests of the US and its partners across the Indo-Pacific. While the US and its friends are committed to inclusion and freedom of the seas, China had shown “unwillingness to resolve disputes peacefully and respect the rule of law”, he said.
Last week, a state department official had said, “Our bilateral discussions with our Indian partners will focus on expanding our security, defence, cyber, and counterterrorism cooperation.”