World India to press Blinken on Afghanistan, China
Haley blasts Blinken's invite to UN experts on racism, minority issues: 'This is insane'
EXCLUSIVE: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Wednesday tore into the Biden administration for issuing an invitation to the United Nations' envoys on racism and minority issues to visit the U.S., describing the move as "insane.""China has one million Uyghurs in concentration camps, Cuba is beating protesters, and Venezuela is torturing political prisoners," Haley said in a statement to Fox News.
Indian officials were expected Wednesday to express alarm over Taliban gains in Afghanistan and to press for more support against China in talks with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Blinken, in his first trip to India as America's top diplomat, was meanwhile due to raise concerns over human rights in his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
US-India relations have historically been prickly but China's growing assertiveness pushed them closer, particularly since deadly clashes last year on the disputed Indo-Chinese Himalayan border.
Blinken to pay first trip to India amid Afghanistan withdrawal
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will speak next week in India about supporting Afghanistan as worries grow in New Delhi about Taliban gains amid the end of the two-decade US military mission, officials said Friday. President Joe Biden has ordered an end to the longest-ever US war by the end of August, saying that nothing more can be achieved militarily -- despite rapid gains on the ground by Taliban insurgents. The Taliban welcomed virulently anti-Indian extremists when the Sunni Muslim militants ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, with an Indian civilian airliner hijacked to the Taliban bastion of Kandahar in 1999.
India is part of the Quad alliance with the United States, Japan and Australia, seen as a bulwark against China.
But according to Brahma Chellaney, strategic affairs expert at India's Centre for Policy Research, US backing has "slipped a notch" since Joe Biden took over from Donald Trump as president.
"India is locked in a military standoff with China but unlike top Trump administration officials who publicly condemned China's aggression and backed India, no one in Team Biden has so far lent open support to India," Chellaney told AFP.
Biden has further riled New Delhi with Washington's "rushed and poorly planned exit from Afghanistan", Chellaney added.
India is worried that a possible takeover by the Taliban, which it sees as backed by its arch-rival Pakistan, will turn the country into a base for militants to attack India.
Timeline: Major events in US-China relations since 1949
As US and Chinese officials meet in China, Al Jazeera examines the nations’ relationship over several decades.The meeting between Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin, China, comes just days after the two countries traded barbs and imposed tit-for-tat sanctions.
The Taliban welcomed virulently anti-Indian extremists when the Sunni Muslim militants ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Video: Ethnic Amhara militias are mobilising along the western and southern borders of Ethiopia's Tigray region as rebel forces go ahead with a new offensive (AFP)
A hijacked Indian airliner was flown to the Taliban bastion of Kandahar in 1999.
India, a firm backer of the Afghan government with billions of dollars in development aid, recently evacuated 50 staff from its Kandahar consulate due to the worsening security situation.
- 'Sedition' -
The talks in a monsoon-soaked New Delhi will also touch on joint efforts on making Covid-19 vaccines, climate change and, according to US officials, India's recent human rights record.
Under Modi, India has made growing use of anti-terrorism legislation and "sedition" laws to arrest people.
Blinken in India for talks dominated by Afghan turmoil, China
Top US diplomat Antony Blinken arrived Tuesday in India for talks dominated by turmoil in Afghanistan and common worries about China, while also touching on New Delhi's rights record. The talks in a monsoon-soaked New Delhi will also touch on joint efforts on making Covid-19 vaccines, climate change and, according to US officials, India's recent human rights record.Blinken, in his first India visit as secretary of state, was due to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday before flying to Kuwait.
Critics say that is aimed at silencing dissent. The government denies this.
The Hindu nationalist government has also brought in legislation that detractors say discriminates against India's 170-million-strong Muslim minority.
Modi insists all Indians have equal rights.
Blinken told Indian civil society groups on Wednesday before his talks with Modi that the world's two biggest democracies were united in shared values such as rule of law and freedom of religion.
"These are fundamental tenets of democracy like ours and our purpose is to give real meaning to these words and constantly renew our commitment to these ideals. And of course, both of our democracies are works in progress. As friends, we talk about that," he said.
"As I said before, sometimes that process is painful. Sometimes it's ugly. But the strength of democracy is to embrace it."
Union and FDP Contra SPD and Greens: Interior Minister Seehofer wants to further shut down after Afghanistan .
Despite the Taliban, Seehofer holds on deportations to Afghanistan. FDP boss Lindner also rejects a deportation stop as required by SPD and Greens. © Photo: Fabian Sommer / DPA Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer holds on deportations to Afghanistan. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) wants to hold on deportations to Afghanistan - despite the occurrence of the Taliban there.