Tillerson had said that the US wanted to deepen the cooperation with India to counter growing Chinese influence in Asia.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on Monday, said that America’s relationship with India is of strategic importance and not confined to the region.
“I think, our view of the relationship with India is one that’s of strategic importance not just for this specific region, but in the context of that speech it was about a free and open Indo-Pacific region stretching all the way from Japan to India,” Tillerson told reporters in Afghanistan.
Tillerson, who is on a scheduled trip from October 20 till 27 to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, India, and Switzerland, paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, on Monday, and met with President Ashraf Ghani.
Tillerson noted that India can play a positive role in creating employment and building infrastructure for strengthening Afghanistan. “They already are providing important economic activity – creating jobs – which is important for the future Afghanistan. And we think they – we want to encourage that as well. We think they can be a very positive influence on creating the right environment for the future in Afghanistan,” he said.
Criticizing Pakistan for supporting terrorism, Tillerson said the US has asked Pakistan government to “take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives and the other terrorist organizations receive in Pakistan.”
“In our conversations with the Pakistani leadership, we’re as concerned about the future stability of Pakistan as we are in many respects here in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs to, I think, take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they’re confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organizations that find safe haven inside of Pakistan,” he added.
Tillerson will visit Pakistan before landing in India and will meet with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He is expected to reassure the Trump administration’s decision to strengthen the cooperation with India as part of its South Asia strategy.
Last week, Tillerson had said that the US wanted to deepen the cooperation with India to counter growing Chinese influence in Asia.
“The United States seeks constructive relations with China, but we will not shrink from China’s challenges to the rules-based order and where China subverts the sovereignty of neighboring countries and disadvantages the US and our friends,” Tillerson said while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies last week.