Tillerson Pushes Closer US Ties With India, Calls Out China

File pic of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

He said that India would be an important partner for the United States in the next 100 years since it has a significant role to play in the Indo-Pacific region. The two nations share goals of security, free navigation, free trade and fighting terrorism in the Indo-Pacific, and serve as "the eastern and western beacons" for an worldwide rules-based order which is increasingly under strain, he said. Earlier, responding a Business Recorder query in his weekly media briefing last week regarding the expected visit of US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defence, he stated: "I can not say when and who will be coming, but it was agreed [in the recent meetings between US and Pakistani authorities] that both sides will remain engaged at all levels".

The U.S. State Secretary added that Washington and New Delhi stand shoulder to shoulder against terrorism.

"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 USA and our friends", Tillerson told the Center for Strategic and International Studies. This was the first major India policy speech given by the US Secretary of State in the Trump administration.

Tillerson pointedly criticized China's model of economic development in smaller countries, announcing that the United States is talking to other countries about offering an alternative to Beijing's lending practices which, he said, saddle nations with "enormous levels of debt". Tillerson also talked about Pakistan ad said that the country should change its old ways and work towards peace and prosperity.

U.S. -India relations have generally prospered in the past decade, in part due to their shared concerns about the rise of China.

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And he laid out a vision of an "Indo Pacific" order stretching from the U.S. west coast to India that would be underpinned by the USA and its allies, a move that could be seen in Beijing as an attempt at containment or as a challenge in a region that China sees as falling under its sphere of influence.

He said Chinese financing was saddling countries with "enormous" debts and failing to create jobs. "We've also supported India's rise".

Tillerson said that the United States is "going to have important relationships with China".

In another comment likely to upset Beijing, he said Washington saw room to invite others, including Australia, to join U.S. -India-Japan security cooperation, something Beijing has opposed as an attempt by democracies to gang up on it.

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