RSTV 28 July, 2021: The Big Picture – Talks with US: Blinken’s visit
- GS-2: India Foreign Policy
- GS-2: Bilateral & Multilateral relationships.
India- US Relationship: US Secretary of State visit to India
- The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met PM Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval for the discussions.
- During the talks, Blinken attached great importance to the relationship between India and the US and assured that it will continue to be stronger under the Biden administration.
- The US Secretary of State also focused on Afghanistan, Quad Vaccine, and the determination to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Significance of the timing of the visit
- Antony Blinken’s maiden visit to India assumes significance in the backdrop of the security crisis in Afghanistan and China’s aggressive stance in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Blinken and Jaishankar talked on a range of issues, including the security crisis in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the US troop pullout, China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region and coordinated Covid-19 response.
Significant strategic areas that were discussed
- US Secretary of State, during his visit to India, expressed Biden administration’s intent of growing stronger bilateral relations with India and also stressed the importance of cooperation on various issues such as COVID-19 and Climate Change. The issues include:
Human rights issues:
- It was widely expected that the Biden, unlike his predecessor, would not hold back to call out New Delhi for issues related to human rights.
- Regarding the Indian Government’s stand on human rights matters, Blinken said that every democracy is a work in progress and that the challenges it faces, renews, and strengthens the democracies.
- The reason for the downgrade is that the US will side step being too harsh or critical against India as it does not want to disturb many aspects of the growing bilateral relationship.
- The United States had announced support for waiving intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines, saying extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.
- Both the countries are determined to end the deadly pandemic together with the Quad vaccine partnership. The two will be the world leaders to bring this pandemic to an end and the focus is on expanding the vaccine production to make it globally accessible and affordable.
- About the strategic dialogue between India, the US, Japan, and Australia, the four like-minded countries are coming together to work on some significant issues that are going to impact the lives of the people.
- It is not a military alliance rather its purpose is to advance the cooperation on the regional challenges while also reinforcing the international rules and values that underpin prosperity, peace, and stability in the region.
- Main challenge for quad is to deliver on the so many ideas and commitments that it claim in the statement and if it can deliver it then it will give a boast to its own credibility.
Massive Violence in Afghanistan:
- Afghanistan region peace and stability is very crucial and most pressing security challenge with significant long-term implications for India at the moment.
- The US sudden withdrawal instead of planned and slow-paced sequential withdrawal has led to the emanation of so many problems.
- This has created a level of uncertainty in the region because the regional interests are very divergent at the moment.
- India has invested heavily in Afghanistan, including granting $3 billion in development assistance since 2001, and has enjoyed close ties with all post-Taliban governments. But India now worries Pakistan and China, its two main rivals, will fill the vacuum left by the United States and deepen their influence.
- Despite the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the US will remain engaged in the country.
- Keeping in mind the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, as the Taliban invades the cities leading to the deteriorating conditions in the country, the US not only has a strong embassy there but also has significant programmes that support the country economically through security assistance and development.
- Both India and the US will exchange assessments about the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on the economic slowdown, COVID assistance, and the security scenario.
- U.S view Indian democracy as a force for good in defence of a free and open Indo-Pacific, indeed a free and open world.
- It remains an important area of conversation between India and the US, particularly the potential for green collaborations as well as climate finance and the transfer of clean technologies to developing nations.
- The United States and India both recognize the unique role they have to play in reducing the world’s emissions, as well as their complementary strengths when it comes to tackling the climate crisis. The two have launched the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership in April this year.
- The partnership will reinforce US and India’s collective efforts to achieve both the goals of the Paris Agreement and their own ambitious 2030 targets for climate action and clean energy, are an excellent example of how the United States and India can bring their strengths to bear on some of the world’s most challenging issues.
Can you attempt this question now?
US Secretary of State, during his visit to India, expressed intent of growing stronger bilateral relations with India and also stressed the importance of cooperation on various issues such as COVID-19 and Climate Change. Illustrate.