New Delhi, July 28: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on a range of bilateral and regional issues with a focus on taking the relationship to the “next level”.
It is learnt that the fast-evolving situation in Afghanistan as well as the Indo-Pacific engagement figured in the nearly one hour talks.
Sources said both sides discussed strategic issues of importance in security, defence, economic and technology-related sectors, adding special attention was given on long term measures to take the relationship to the next level.
Views were also exchanged on contemporary and futuristic issues related to regional and global security, they said.
Blinken arrived here on Tuesday evening on a two-day visit with an extensive agenda featuring the rapidly evolving security situation in Afghanistan, boosting Indo-Pacific engagement and ways to enhance COVID-19 response efforts among others.
It is Blinken’s first visit to India after assuming charge as the US Secretary of State and the third by a high-ranking Biden administration official after it came to power in January.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin visited India in March while US Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry travelled to New Delhi in April.
Later, Blinken held wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar covering an agenda that included the rapidly evolving security situation in Afghanistan, ways to boost Indo-Pacific engagement and enhancing COVID-19 response efforts among others.
Blinken began his engagements in India in the morning with a meeting with a number of civil society leaders.
Following the meeting, Blinken said on Twitter that the US and India share a commitment to democratic values and it is part of the bedrock of the relationship and reflective of India’s pluralistic society.
“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,” he said. (PTI)