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Afghanistan, terror sanctuaries in Pakistan on agenda for Blinken’s visit to India

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: The fallout of the drawdown of US troops on the security situation in Afghanistan and the need to pressure Pakistan on terror financing and sanctuaries for terrorists will be on the agenda for US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s visit to India this week, people familiar with planning for the visit said on condition of anonymity on Sunday, as quoted by Indian media.The two sides are expected to discuss ways to deepen defense collaboration, including exercises, defense transfers and technologies, as part of preparations for the fourth 2+2 dialogue of defense and foreign ministers to be held in the US later this year, the said.Blinken is the third senior member of the Biden administration to visit India after defense secretary Lloyd Austin in March and special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry in April. During his two-day visit, he will meet external affairs minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on July 28.The situation in Afghanistan is expected to be one of the main topics on the agenda for Blinken’s discussions with his Indian interlocutors because of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the country in the aftermath of an offensive by the Taliban to capture territory and crucial border crossings with Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan.India is concerned about the instability in Afghanistan spilling over into parts of the region and Pakistani terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed currently fighting alongside the Taliban turning their attention towards Kashmir.“On the regional security situation, the implications of the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, and the need for sustained pressure on Pakistan over terror financing and terror havens will be part of the agenda,” one of the people cited above said, as quoted by Hindustan Times.Other issues that are expected to be part of the discussions are augmenting trade and investment and tapping opportunities in healthcare, education, the digital domain, innovation and security. Climate change too will be a key area, especially the potential for green collaborations, climate finance and transfer of clean technologies to developing countries.

 

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