Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, will visit India this week. Both the leadership from India and the US will review ties. There are numerous issues that will be discussed for bilateral, regional and global cooperation between India and the US. The delegations will discuss topics like the Covid-19 pandemic, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, democracy, climate change and human rights.
According to sources, discussions will be held on the resumption of international travel and in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government will ease travel for students, high skilled workers, professionals, business travellers and family members. India will press the US for a continuous and open supply of raw material to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine and other medical pieces of equipment. The talk will also include giving the green flag to export COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in India to the Indo Pacific region in 2022. India will try to prepone the export of vaccines to 2021.
On democracy and human rights-
The US will raise the issue of human rights violations and democracy in India. The US and India are strong democracies that can mentor the world on democratic values. India believes that human rights and democracy are universal concepts beyond nation or culture that should be deliberated. The virtual Quad Summit hosted by US president Joe Biden also highlighted the need for the countries to stick to democratic values in the region. The US will also raise the issue of Pegasus spying, but given its history of the US spying on its people and the delegation won’t get worked up over it.
Press Trust of India PTI reported that India would raise developments in Afghanistan in the talks. Afghanistan is an important region for India in terms of investment, international relations and national security. Pakistan and Turkey will try their best to woo Afghanistan in their favour. India will ask the US to pressurise Pakistan to reduce terror financing and harbouring terrorists in the country. Stable Afghanistan is essential for India because it has always been the region for India and Pakistan proxy war.
A politically and economically stable Afghanistan will harbour the Indian aim of entering the Central Asian region for trade. The US recognises the Indian contribution to a fair and peaceful Afghanistan. The US has hinted that India will be at the negotiations table to bring settlement to a war-torn country.
Quad meeting and Chinese incursions-
Blinken will also raise the issue of growing Chinese influence in the region. China has been trying to acquire dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific region is strategically important for the entire world because the majority of trade flows through that region. Whoever controls the Indo-Pacific region controls the world. The US, India, Japan and Australia are the quad members and will work to promote a free, fair, rule-based regime on international conventions in the Indo Pacific region.
India believes that no country should control the Indo-Pacific region, and it should be available to everyone subject to rules and regulations. Focus on enhancing and improving defence, anti-terrorism cooperation and cybersecurity. The Chinese recently started incursions in the eastern Ladakh region again. A commander level meeting with the Chinese is due on 31 July 2021. India is likely to raise border issues and dissonance with the Chinese.
Press Trust of India reported that climate change would also be a hot topic in the conversation. The delegation will focus on the transfer of clean technologies to developing countries, collaborating in green projects and financing clean energy initiatives. The US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry visited India in April to discuss net zero carbon emissions with the environment minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Antony Blinken‘s visit is in response to S Jaishankar‘s visit to the US to ask for vaccine-related assistance. The visit was a flop show because he did not get to meet the US president Joe Biden and India was struggling under the deadly second wave.
It is vital that this meeting tips in Indian favour because a lot is at stake. For instance
Indian investment in Afghanistan will come to a standstill if a progressive negotiation which favours India is not reached. It is crucial that India sits on the negotiating table when power-sharing is discussed in Afghanistan. India still holds a grudge and shame on Kandahar hijack. Pakistan has always been harbouring and financing terrorism in India.
Most of it happens in Afghanistan. Apart from terror and trade, India’s position in the international world is also at stake. India was the one that backedAfghanistan’s entry into the South Asian Association of RegionalCooperation SAARC. Since the Taliban has captured most of Afghanistan, it is possible that a Taliban leader will sit at the negotiation stable with SAARC.
The quad and India need stability in the Indo-Pacific region because once China dominates the ocean, there is no going back. The Indo-Pacific region is strategically important for trade, defence and other purposes. China wants to dominate the region and prevent the entry of other countries. India, on the other hand, wants a peaceful, stable area that works on international laws and regulations so that everyone is able to share the fruits of development.
The world has already suffered because of the hegemony of the US, and India does not want a Chinese hegemony in the Indo Pacific region. China is already trying to surround India via the string of pearls, incursions in the South China Sea and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Skirmishes in the Galwan Valley and incursions in the eastern Ladakh region are facts. Apart from this, China has been supporting Pakistan with CPEC, technology, trade and other initiatives. Pakistan has never been a well wisher towards India. The world community is at odds with China because everyone believes that China deliberately created the COVID-19 virus. The iron is hot, and it’s the correct time to strike against Pakistan, China and tip the balance in Indian favour in Afghanistan issue in this meet.
India bypassed growth in the secondary sector and jumped directly towards the tertiary industry by providing world-class services to the developed world. An increase in the secondary sector and a shift of labour from the primary sector is important if India wishes to be a developed nation. The US administration under Joe Biden has plans to reboot the American economy by following an active industrial policy.
Biden wishes to end dependence on China and its manufacturing. The Biden administration will come forward with an approach to engage with the Chinese. India and the US can join hands to revive and renovate their secondary sector, which will be a symbiotic relationship.
Joe Biden administration won’t be forcing other countries to open up their markets or signing free trade agreements. Biden believes in increasing taxes, increase in public expenditure and removing economic inequality in the American market. If America raises taxes, it will be beneficial for India because India also engages in protective measures against foreign goods.
Raising the humanitarian rights issue won’t be a problem for India because the US imposed sanctions on exporting raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines. This was against the interest of the world community because India supplied vaccines to a lot of countries as part of the vaccine diplomacy.
The American administration under US president Joe Biden will try to increase bilateral ties, trade with India. India needs to invest in think tanks and research societies to understand American culture if it wishes a perennial relationship. Russia and China have invested heavily in studying America in their respective universities.
All eyes are on the meet and developments that will follow.