US official to hold talks in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal; Afghanistan also to figure

U.S. Under Secretary Victoria Nuland in Nepal, January 2023. Photo: Twitter @/UnderSecStateP

The US diplomat in charge of political affairs is visiting India, Sri Lanka and Nepal for regional consultations. She will also visit Qatar which represents US interests in Afghanistan.

During her India visit beginning Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland will lead the US delegation to the annual foreign office consultations “which cover the full range of bilateral, regional, and global issues,” the department said on Friday. She is also scheduled to meet with young Indian tech leaders, according to the department.

During her visit to Sri Lanka which will mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between that country and the US, she will convey Washington’s “support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to stabilize the economy, protect human rights, and promote reconciliation”, the department said.

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In Nepal, Nuland will engage with the new government of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal who took office last month on the broad agenda of the partnership between the two countries, the department said.

Qatar, which plays a pivotal role in international diplomacy relating to the Taliban regime, represents US interests in Afghanistan as Washington has not recognised the regime. The department said that there Nuland will discuss “our bilateral arrangement on the protection of US interests in Afghanistan”.

“Global issues under the framework of the US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue”and that country’s “critical support for the relocation of Afghans with ties to the United States”, will also figure in her discussions with leaders there, according to the department.

The foreign office consultations are an annual affair to review the entire range of cooperation between the two countries under the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, including political, economic, commercial, regional and international cooperation.

Although the US and India have been drawing closer together, India’s apparent neutrality in the Ukraine war and its continued purchase of oil from Russia remains a sticking point, although Washington’s diplomats gloss over it.

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