U.S. wants stronger India ties to counter PRC's rise: Tillerson

Posted October 20, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rebuked China on Wednesday for subverting the global order, undermining the sovereignty of its neighbors and for being an irresponsible worldwide actor prone to predatory economic policies.

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

Tillerson will deliver his remarks on "Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top American think tank, a statement said. While President Donald Trump has looked to deepen cooperation with China on addressing the nuclear threat from North Korea, he's also sought a closer relationship with India, which shares US worries on Islamic extremism.

Pakistan was the main USA ally in South Asia for decades, but US officials are frustrated with what they charge has been Pakistan's failure to cut support for the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, where the administration wants India to play a bigger role in economic development.

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Both India and China had benefited from that order, but Tillerson said India had done so while respecting rules and norms, while China had "at times" undermined them.

He also called Wednesday for the USA and India to expand strategic ties.

"In Islamabad, the Secretary will meet with senior Pakistani leaders to discuss our continued strong bilateral cooperation, Pakistan's critical role in the success of our South Asia strategy, and the expanding economic ties between our two countries", a statement by the Department said.

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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"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 global law and norms that the USA and India both stand for".

China on Thursday asked the United States to remove its "biased views" and work with Beijing to uphold the momentum for a steady and sound relation, a day after the top American diplomat lashed out at the Chinese model and funding infrastructure projects and developmental activities.

"China will never develop itself at the expense of other countries", Lu told a regular briefing yesterday.

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

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