US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden visit to India from 27-28 July.
This is the second visit of a high-ranking US official to India since the Biden administration took over in January this year. On the agenda of this diplomatic visit were ongoing tensions in Afghanistan, India’s role in the Indo-Pacific, and the COVID pandemic.
However, his visit began not with his Indian counterparts but with representatives from various faiths in India, a constitutional lawyer, where India’s contention issues ranging from religious freedom laws, farmers protests, press freedom, minority rights, and the recent Pegasus snoop were discussed.
This is not the first time that the US has raised the issue of democracy with India, the last being in the form of a public letter written by the Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez on the eve of US secretary of defence Lloyd J Austin's visit to India in March.
At a joint presser on 28 July, Blinken stressed the importance of the relation between the two countries stating “there are few relationships in the world that are more vital than the one between the US and India.”
In this episode, we will discuss the main takeaways from the visit and where the US-India relations are headed.
To discuss all this, we spoke with Manoj Joshi, a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.