Afghanistan and China dominated India-US talks



Shared concern to resist the Taliban in Afghanistan, containing China and addressing Washington’s worries about India’s democracy dominated the talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on Wednesday.

Blinken, on a two-day India visit to India, had a meeting with Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval before he headed for his scheduled meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the day.

The duo addressed a joint press conference soon after their meeting, taking questions mainly on China, Afghanistan and democracy, which Blinken referred to as a “work in progress”.

For regional experts, Blinken's visit carries a symbolic weight since it's the first high profile contact between the US and India ever since Joe Biden came into power.

Speaking to TRT World, India's foreign affairs analyst Gautam Lahiri said that Washington and New Delhi have a "clear convergence on two issues - Afghanistan and China."

"On those two issues they are clearly on the same page but on the question of human rights and trends in democracy in India, there are differences," said Lahiri, who is based in New Delhi.

Ever since the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in 2014, India has received criticism about its declining record on civil rights and liberties, with some global watchdogs describing it as a "flawed democracy".