Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting India this week as the Biden administration seeks to reassure a key Asian partner over the U.S. and allied military withdrawal from Afghanistan and works to tighten security ties amid concern about Chinese influence in the region.
Mr. Blinken will meet Wednesday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, with a U.S. agenda that officials said includes Covid-19 response, security, defense and cyber issues as well as counterterrorism cooperation. An Indian official said trade, investment, healthcare and innovation also would be subjects of interest to New Delhi.
Afghanistan will be an important issue for both countries, with U.S. officials promising continued American involvement as they plan a troop withdrawal by the end of next month, which poses regional stability concerns for Indian officials.
The visit by Mr. Blinken is the latest overture by the Biden administration to India and other countries in Asia as it implements a strategy of lining up allies to lock arms against intensifying Chinese influence across the region.
Mr. Blinken also will travel this week to Kuwait, a longtime focus of U.S. security attention, which U.S. officials hope to enlist in their effort to safeguard former interpreters and translators being evacuated from Afghanistan in the face of Taliban retaliation.