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As Indo-US Ties Fortify, Blinken's Pointed Message to China While it Cosies Up to Taliban

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Blinken had also met a representative of Dalai Lama, in a clear signal to China about the Biden administration's continued support to the Tibetan cause.

On a day Taliban leaders led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and termed Beijing a trustworthy friend, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on an official visit to India, dismissed their warming relations by saying that ‘everyone has an interest in the region’.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18, Blinken short sold China’s involvement in the region and said: “Neighbouring countries of Afghanistan have an interest in the region. Pakistan, Iran, Asia, and Central Asian countries, everyone has an interest in the region, but no one has an interest in the region falling into an enduring civil war or the hands of the Taliban."

“Everyone has an interest in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. If China and other countries are working on that interest, then it’s a positive thing," he said.

Blinken had earlier in the day held a meeting with a senior representative of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, in a clear signal to China about the Biden administration’s continued support to the Tibetan cause.

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 The ongoing offensive by the Taliban capturing a significant amount of territory from government forces has sparked concerns in China that the separatist Uygur militant group from its volatile Xinjiang province, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM) would infiltrate through its Afghan borders.

The Taliban delegation’s visit followed days after Pakistan and China announced plans to launch ‘joint actions’ in Afghanistan to drive out terrorist forces during the talks between Wang and Pakistan Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Chinese city of Chengdu on July 25.

On July 6, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called up the Dalai Lama and greeted him on his 86th birthday in what is seen in some quarters as a subtle message to China in the backdrop of the festering border row in eastern Ladakh. The 14th Dalai Lama has made India his home since fleeing China in 1959.

The Chinese government officials and the Dalai Lama or his representatives have not met in formal negotiations since 2010. Beijing has in the past accused the Dalai Lama of indulging in “separatist" activities and trying to split Tibet and considers him as a divisive figure.

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first published:July 28, 2021, 20:27 IST