Blinken’s Significant Visit to India

By Meryem Betul KEBAP
Redacted By Sami BURGAZ
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to travel to India this week. He will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday.

The travel is the diplomat’s first visit to the world’s largest democracy and is crucial because India is a significant ally of the U.S. in Asia. The meeting agenda is expected to include “Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis as well as the response to the coronavirus pandemic”.

In addition, Blinken is expected to discuss the plans for a summit between QUAD group of countries namely, India, Japan, Australia, and the U.S. The Summit is seen as direct response to China’s rising influence and its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). Hence the summit is expected to focus on means of developing regional infrastructure.

According to, the sides are also expected to discuss the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban’s rising influence in the region. Blinken’s travel to India could also coincide with the official visit of Afghanistan’s Army Chief Lt. Gen. Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai to India.  

India remains to be a valuable partner of America’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and given that tensions between U.S. and China have reached new highs recently, the timing of this visit has become a lot more important. Ultimately, it is expected that Blinken will not hesitate to underline the deteriorating human rights situation in India.

Dean Thompson, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs stated that:

Issues such as human rights and democracy are universal and extend beyond a particular national or cultural perspective. India is proud of its achievements in both domains and is always glad to share experiences (…)”With respect to the human rights and democracy question, yes, you’re right; I will tell you that we will raise it, and we will continue that conversation because we firmly believe that we have more values in common on those fronts than we don’t”

The Indian side has signalled that it is ready to discuss the question of human rights since New Delhi supports a multi-polar, democratic, and diverse world order. The visit will also involve working together at the United Nations level since India will take over the presidency of the Security Council in August.

According to Global Times, the Indian society expects Blinken’s visit to lend a helping hand to India’s economy which is ravaged from the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the country’s relatively low credit ratings and high inflation, there are also worries over a potential financial crisis. At this point, whether the US could offer any aid to India when it comes to alleviating its epidemic and economic woes will be a test to the bilateral ties. It would be delusional for the US to build its relations with India based on the ideological values, but it also seems questionable whether the US can truly and generously lend India a helping hand to facilitate the latter’s stable economic development.”

All in all, QUAD allies cannot effectively support India’s economy since the mechanism is just an ideological strategy against China in the Indo-Pacific theatre. While India urgently needs to bolster its economy, the U.S. priority is countering China in the region. Hence the aims and needs of two allies vary. However, if the economic interactions between the two states reach a stalemate in the long term, a fruitful relationship will not become a reality.

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