On his maiden visit, Blinken says India, US share commitment to democratic values

New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on a two-day visit to India, met civil society leaders here on Wednesday and said the two nations share a commitment to democratic values.

 “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 tweeted.

Blinken, who is on his maiden visit to India after assuming office, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar later today.

The top US diplomat, who landed in New Delhi on Tuesday, is set to discuss wide-ranging issues with Indian officials including vaccine cooperation, Afghanistan, and the Indo-Pacific region.

The US top diplomat will meet with officials, staff of the US Mission in India.

Then at noon, Blinken will hold a discussion with EAM Jaishankar. Thereafter, they are expected to hold a joint press conference at 2.30 pm. Finally, the US Secretary of State will call on Prime Minister Modi.

 According to the State Department, Blinken will discuss a wide range of issues including Indo-Pacific engagement and shared regional security interests. He will also discuss ways to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan during talks with the Indian leadership.

A state department official last week had said that “Our bilateral discussions with our Indian partners will focus on expanding our security, defence, cyber, and counterterrorism cooperation.”

India and the US will also discuss health collaboration to combat COVID-19, including the Quad vaccine partnership that was first announced during President Biden’s Quad summit.

Both sides will review the multifaceted India-US bilateral relations and the potential for consolidating them further.