Blinken talking to top Indian officials to strengthen ties


New DELHI—US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was talking with top Indian officials Wednesday in meetings that are expected to deepen ties between the important allies that are both rivals to a rising China.

Blinken and Foreign Minister Subrahmany­am Jaishankar were likely to discuss strengthen­ing Indo-pacific engagement, seen as a counter to China, as well as New Delhi’s recent human rights record and issues related to the coronaviru­s pandemic and climate change. A possible summit of leaders of the Quad in the us later this year is also expected to be on the agenda.

The us and India are part of the Quad regional alliance that also includes Japan and Australia and helps deal with China’s growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiven­ess in the Indo-pacific region, and ties between them have been on the ascent over the last few years.

Blinken’s India visit comes just days after his No. 2 diplomat, Wendy Sherman, was in China. He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later Wednesday.

Before meeting with Jaishankar, Blinken held closed-door talks with India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, details of which were not released. He also spoke to civil society leaders and said the fundamenta­l freedoms and rule of law were “tenets of democracie­s” like the us and India.

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