US Secretary of State Antony Blinken kicked off his first official go to to India Wednesday, highlighting the 2 nations’ shut ties but additionally noting the democracies have been “works in progress” — a guarded reference to the difficulty of discrimination towards minorities in each international locations.

Blinken is scheduled to fulfill his counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in addition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the place India’s border tensions with China, the rising safety disaster in Afghanistan triggered by the upcoming last US troop withdrawal and Covid-19 are more likely to be excessive on the agenda.

“The Indian people and the American people believe in freedom, in equality of opportunity, in the rule of law,” Blinken stated throughout a gathering with civil society leaders within the capital, New Delhi. He referred to the “rising global threats to democracy,” noting it was “vital that we, the world’s two leading democracies, continue to stand together in support of these ideals.”

Blinken’s journey comes as his authorities vows to problem what it describes as China’s aggression and whereas international locations throughout South and Southeast Asia battle a surge in Covid-19 amid sluggish vaccination roll-outs.

Ties between the US and India have warmed in recent times as the 2 nations share converging pursuits over Beijing’s actions within the area, nonetheless there have been rising issues in Washington over the deteriorating human rights panorama within the South Asian nation. Dean Thompson, performing assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, stated Friday Blinken would elevate these points throughout his go to.

Since Modi got here to energy in 2014, arduous liners in his Bharatiya Janata Party have change into more and more emboldened in selling the dominance of Hindus, who kind 80% of the inhabitants. A restrictive new citizenship legislation that’s seen to focus on the nation’s 170 million Muslims, together with a lethal crackdown on protests towards the transfer are two key stress factors, in addition to intensifying authorities stress on the media.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin can be in Asia with the message that America was dedicated to engagement within the area, whereas stressing that the US and its companions confronted a standard problem in China.

In his speech in Singapore Tuesday, Austin described the discrimination skilled by some Asian Americans as “unacceptable,” however famous “we aren’t trying to hide our mistakes. When a democracy stumbles, everyone can see and hear it. It’s broadcast in loud and living color, not hushed up by the state.”


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