Blinken talks Quad with India and counterterrorism with Pakistan

Blinken talks Quad with India and counterterrorism with Pakistan

Phone calls with South Asian rivals signal warmer tone toward New Delhi

NEW YORK — Three days after being confirmed as America’s top diplomat, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed security with South Asia’s two major powers — nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan — on Friday, although the tone of the talks differed greatly in conversations with his counterparts.

While the discussion with New Delhi centered mainly on battling the coronavirus pandemic and security in the Indo-Pacific, communication with Islamabad was based on counterterrorism and the peace process in Afghanistan.

In a news release, the State Department said Blinken’s conversation with India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was to underscore “India’s role as a preeminent U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific,” and also reiterated the importance of working with India through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, a semiformal grouping of the U.S., India, Japan and Australia — which has recently been deepening cooperation, including joint military drills among the four powers, with an eye on China.