Tillerson calls on India to play greater role in region

Kristopher Drake
October 21, 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said before a visit to India next week that the administration of US President Donald Trump wants to "dramatically deepen" cooperation with New Delhi, seeing it as a key partner in the face of negative Chinese influence in Asia.

In an interview at the State Department in Washington, Tillerson said Thursday that the USA isn't necessarily frustrated with China but made clear the administration wants more progress. Qatari foreign minister said on July 31 that the crisis should be solved through diplomacy without touching Qatar's sovereignty and made it clear that Qatar will not accept any demands that are not in line with worldwide law.Tillerson departed on Friday for travel to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan and India before returning home through Switzerland on October 27, the department said in a statement.

The ministry was referring to a Tillerson speech, made at a Washington think tank, during which he bluntly talked about "China's challenges to the rules-based (world) order" and in a none-too-veiled reference to Pakistan, said that "states that use terror as an instrument of policy will only see their worldwide reputation and standing diminish".

Tillerson took a more strident tone on China.

The Secretary of State also took a dim view of China's "provocative actions" in the disputed South China Sea when he said, "China's actions in the South China Sea directly challenge the worldwide law and norms that USA and India both stand for".

"China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the global, rules-based order", he added. "We share a vision of the future". The US has begun "quite conversation" with east Asian countries on alternatives to Chinese infrastructure financing, Tillerson said.

Healthy relations between China and the USA are good for the people of both nations and are expected by the Asia-Pacific region, he added.

He said the world needed the US and India to have a strong partnership.

China, he said, uses funding mechanisms with countries that "result in saddling them with enormous levels of debt".

Tillerson said India is a partner for peace in Afghanistan, and he welcomed India's assistance to that war-torn country. He also noted that China, while compared to India, had contributed very less to counter terrorism.

"He will hold consultations with the ministry of external affairs and other government leaders from India to discuss the implementation of the ideas he outlined yesterday in his speech at CSIS defining our relationship with India for the next century", said a US State Department spokeswoman last night, referring to Tillerson's speech at the think tank.

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

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