Published: Wed, October 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Tillerson to speak on US' India policy tomorrow

Tillerson to speak on US' India policy tomorrow

The U.S. and India must collaborate to ensure the region does not succumb to "predatory economics", Tillerson said during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pointing to China's investment and financing strategy as the chief example.

He stated that China's provocative actions in the South China Sea are against the sovereignty laws that India and U.S. stand for.

Trump hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House in June, and they spoke by phone in August, eager to forge greater cooperation on fighting militant extremism and increasing trade.

As such, the speech also amounted to a warning to great power rival China that Washington will build regional alliances to counter its ever-growing power.

India and China went to war in 1962 over the state of Arunachal Pradesh and China has maintained better ties with Delhi´s foe Pakistan.

In his major India policy speech, Tillerson said India-US cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism has strengthened in recent years. He said that India and America shared a deep affinity for democracy, and were two beacons of stability on different parts of the world. "It is the obligation, and not the choice of every civilized nation to combat terrorism".

Trump named his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to lead a US delegation to a global entrepreneur's summit in India next month.

Tillerson, who is scheduled to visit New Delhi next week, said the trip could not have come at a more promising time for the US-India partnership.

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Early this month, the first consignment of American crude oil reached India and the Indian companies plan to purchase crude oil worth $2 billion in the next one year.

In pointed criticism of Beijing, which the United States is urging to be tougher on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, Tillerson made an unflattering comparison between the ways India and China have progressed over the past two decades. "As you know, this year marks the 70th anniversary of relations between our two countries", he said.

"In this period of uncertainty and angst, India needs a reliable partner on the world stage".

"Yet we do not encounter significant numbers of Indian Muslims among foreign fighters in the ranks of ISIS or other terror groups, which speaks to the strengths of Indian society", said the top American diplomat. "As we implement President Trump's new South Asia strategy, we will turn to our partners to ensure greater stability in Afghanistan and throughout the region".

"But above all, the world - and the Indo-Pacific in particular - needs the USA and India to have a strong partnership".

Tillerson said the Trump administration seeks to "dramatically deepen" ties with India.

"The United States and India are increasingly global partners with growing strategic convergence".

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