Tillerson Pushes Closer US Ties With India, Calls Out China

Tillerson Pushes Closer US Ties With India, Calls Out China”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will embark on Asia tour today (Friday).

He also compared this to India that "operates within a framework that protects other nations' sovereignty".

Tillerson will visit India next week and is expected to visit Islamabad later.

About two weeks before Trump heads to Asia, the top US diplomat projected a tougher demeanor, particularly toward China whose help the USA has sought to rein in North Korea's nuclear program.

"China's provocative actions in the South China Sea directly challenge the worldwide law and norms that the United States and India both stand for", Tillerson said in an address at the Center for Strategic and global Studies, a Washington think tank.

Officials in Delhi agree that Tillerson's articulation that the emerging Delhi-Washington strategic partnership is crucial and that the world, Indo-Pacific in particular, needs the United States and India to have a strong partnership.

Calling China "a non-democratic society", he added that the United States would never have the same relationship with the country.

Tillerson's speech at CSIS went over much better in New Delhi. He called for India's archrival Pakistan "to take decisive action against terrorist groups based within their own borders that threaten its own people and the broader region".

"We expect Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorist groups based in their own region", Tillerson said, adding, "China's provocative actions in South China Sea directly challenge the worldwide law and norms that the USA and India both stand for". "And yet, the Obama administration chose to be less overt in calling out China and in highlighting it as a point of convergence for U.S. -India ties", said Kugelman.

Tillerson said the U.S. seeks constructive relations with China but "won't shrink" from the challenges it poses when it "subverts the sovereignty of neighbouring countries, and disadvantages the United States and our friends".

Mentioning China 13 times in his speech on the future of USA relations with India, Tillerson accused China of "undermining the global, rules-based order", argued China's "provocative actions" in the South China Sea "directly challenge" the U.S., and said China's economic cooperation model "saddles" developing economies with enormous levels of debt. Jinping said that China "has become a great power in the world" and entered a "new era" where it should "take center stage in the world".

"We will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion, never pursue development at the expense of others' interests", said the statement issued by the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Looking forward to welcoming Tillerson+ next week, the government described his recent remarks on "defining our relationship with India for the next century" to a US thinktank as a significant policy statement on India-US relations and its future.

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