United States Secretary of State Antony J Blinken will visit India on July 27 and 28 to discuss a range of issues including the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and the situation in Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific, the ministry of external affairs announced on Friday.
It will be Blinken's first visit to India after assuming charge as the US Secretary of State and the second by a high-ranking official of the Biden administration since it came to power in January.
"US Secretary of State, Antony J Blinken, will visit India on July 27 and 28," the MEA said.
It said Blinken will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on July 28.
A statement by the US State Department said Blinken will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Secretary Blinken's visit is an opportunity to continue the high-level bilateral dialogue and bolster the India-US global strategic partnership. Both sides will review the robust and multifaceted India-US bilateral relations, and potential for consolidating them further," the MEA said in a statement.
"Discussions will focus on regional and global issues of mutual interest including recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indo-Pacific region, Afghanistan and cooperation in the UN," it added.
The US State Department said Blinken will travel to Kuwait after visiting India and that the two-nation tour is aimed at reaffirming the United States' commitment to strengthening its partnerships.
"Secretary of State Antony J Blinken will travel to New Delhi, India and Kuwait City, Kuwait July 26-29 to reaffirm the United States' commitment to strengthening our partnerships and underscore cooperation on our shared priorities," it said.
"In New Delhi on July 28, Secretary Blinken will meet with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss a wide range of issues including continued cooperation on COVID-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis," it added.
It is learnt that both sides will also discuss the possibility of holding an in-person summit of leaders of the Quad grouping in Washington later this year.
The US has been looking at convening the in-person summit of the leaders of Quad to boost practical cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as well as to send a strong signal about Washington's commitment to the grouping. The Quad comprises India, Japan, Australia and the US.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin had paid a three-day visit to New Delhi in March.
It is expected that the evolving situation in Afghanistan will be a major focus of the discussions between the two sides.
Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US withdrew the majority of its troops from the country and is looking at completing the drawdown by August 31, ending nearly two-decade of its military presence in the country.
The Taliban was evicted from power by the US-led forces in 2001. Now, as the US is pulling back its troops, the Taliban fighters are attempting to gain control of various parts of the country.
As the situation deteriorated in Afghanistan, India has been in touch with leading international players as well as the Afghan government on the overall developments in the country.
India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly $3 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.