During his visit to India, the Secretary of State will be accompanied by US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin…reports Asian Lite News
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will embark on the visit of five nations, whose conclusion will be marked by his visit to India to participate in the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in November, the State Department informed in a statement.
Blinken will be visiting Israel, Jordan, Japan, South Korea and lastly, India.
During his visit to India, Blinken will be accompanied by US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. The US delegation will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other senior Indian officials to discuss both bilateral and global concerns and developments in the Indo-Pacific.
The central focus of these talks is to address the ongoing conflicts and regional security concerns while strengthening the strategic ties between India and the United States. The agenda is expansive, encompassing the India-US Strategic Relationship, as well as exploring avenues to enhance bilateral relations and collaboration within international forums such as the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) and I2U2.
One prominent subject for discussion is the military standoff on the northern borders between India and China. Both countries have a vested interest in resolving this standoff amicably, thereby contributing to regional stability.
Another matter of great concern is the global security implications of the Russia-Ukraine war. As members of the QUAD, a coalition dedicated to ensuring security in the Indo-Pacific region, India and the U.S. are likely to deliberate on their respective roles in the context of this global event. The ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza region may also find a place on the agenda, with a focus on containment to prevent further escalation.
Defense hardware cooperation is a substantial part of these talks, given India’s significant purchases of American weaponry, including over US$3 billion worth of Predator drones and related systems from General Atomics. This not only strengthens India’s defense capabilities but also underscores the deepening partnership between the two nations in the defense sector.
On the defense front, both sides will review the progress on the implementation of the Roadmap for US-India Defense Industrial Cooperation. This includes assessing the progress on co-production initiatives announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in June.
Recently, India and the US made commitments to expedite negotiations on the Security of Supply Arrangement and Reciprocal Defense Procurement agreements, further solidifying their defense ties and cooperation in this critical sector.
The agenda of these talks also involves identifying opportunities to enhance interoperability and logistics cooperation. This includes joint maritime engagements in the Indian Ocean region and expanded collaboration in the domains of space and cyber security.
These talks hold immense significance, not only in bolstering India-US relations but also in addressing complex regional and global security challenges. Observers from around the world will closely watch the outcomes of these discussions as India and the United States navigate the intricate web of international diplomacy and geopolitics.
In Israel, Blinken will reiterate US support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism consistent with international humanitarian law and discuss efforts to safeguard US citizens in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, work to secure the immediate release of hostages, increase the pace and volume of humanitarian assistance entering Gaza for distribution to Palestinian civilians, and prevent the conflict from spreading, the statement read.
After this, he will go to Jordan, where Blinken will underscore the importance of protecting civilian lives and our shared commitment to facilitating the increased, sustained delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, the resumption of essential services, and ensuring that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced outside of Gaza.
He will also discuss urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric, reduce regional tensions, and reaffirm the US commitment to working with partners to set the conditions necessary for a durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East, including the establishment of a Palestinian state, the State Department added.
“Secretary Blinken will then lead US delegations to Tokyo, Seoul, and New Delhi to advance collaborative efforts to support a free and open Indo-Pacific region that is prosperous, secure, connected, and resilient,” it added.
In Tokyo, Blinken will participate in the second G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of 2023, where G7 foreign ministers will build on the commitments made by leaders at the G7 Hiroshima Summit.
Blinken will also thank Japan for its successful G7 presidency. The Secretary will also have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko to discuss bilateral priorities, including supporting Ukraine’s economic recovery and energy needs and strengthening our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.