In his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, PM Modi said that the societies of US and India share a deep commitment to the values of democracy, freedom and liberty

While both the strategic partners are moving towards convergence on Kabul, Pakistan is yet again playing the double game by getting Chinese support for Taliban and at the same time, extracting leverage with the US for getting the Islamist Sunni force on table.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to India revealed strong convergence between the oldest and largest democracies on Quad, China, and Indo-Pacific, shifting of American position closer to New Delhi’s viewpoint on Afghanistan over Taliban offensive and Washington’s has shed its reticence over the exiled 14th Dalai Lama.

Blinken’s conversations with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Wednesday were largely centred on Taliban offensive in Afghanistan accompanied with brutality on innocent citizens and increasing Chinese belligerence in its pursuit to become the numero uno in the world.

While Blinken’s official discussions with Indian leadership were extensive on conflict situations all over the globe, Secretary of State statement that Afghanistan yet again will be treated as pariah state if Taliban seize power by force instead of negotiated political settlement will force the Sunni fundamentalists and their handlers to rethink. Just as Jaishankar’s public dismissal of China’s fears over Quad as unreasonable will push Beijing to recalibrate its aggressive, which has now reached a point of being overbearing to the democratic world. Fact is that China has virtually encircled India by forging ties with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal through economic leverage, but it accuses India of joining anti-China camp led by the US. It is now 14 months since the PLA transgressed into East Ladakh with the objective of unilaterally changing the status quo on ground forcing India to respond and deploy equal number of troops as the adversary along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

India is not the only one at the receiving end of Chinese aggression, but other Quad powers have also been singled out by Beijing activating land, sea or trade disputes. While China has firewalled its citizens from social media, its propaganda machine and information warfare has gone into an overdrive attacking the Quad partners and exploiting the fault-lines within the security grouping. Beijing’s all-weather client state Pakistanis again playing the double game by sending a Taliban delegation headed by Mullah Baradar to China and sending the DG (ISI) Lt General Faiz Hameed and Pakistan NSA Moeed Yusuf to Washington perhaps to assure the Biden administration that Taliban will deliver on its commitments and extract leverage for beleaguered PM Imran Khan on economy and FATF.

While the US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman highlighted Chinese repression in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong during her visit to China last Sunday, the other Quad partners have also decided to pushback on Beijing’s unilateral diplomatic demands. Secretary Blinken on his own meeting Dalai Lama’s representative Ngodup Dongchung separately on Tuesday at a New Delhi hotel are indicators that US is not squeamish about the exiled Tibetan community and their Buddhist leadership.

Bilaterally both India and US are on a strong wicket as could be seen from the bonhomie between the two foreign ministers with the Biden administration ready to part with high defence and other technologies to New Delhi as a major defence ally. The openness with which both Indian and US interlocutors exchange notes over matters of concern also show the build up of trust in the bilateral relationship.

The joining of hands for vaccine production and building resilient global supply chains, which are not dependent only on one country, are part of India-US growing convergence. These initiatives will only be strengthened when Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes to Washington to attend the Quad summit in October.