Trump, Modi committed to build an ambitious partnership, says Rex Tillerson


In a major India-policy speech, the first by the Trump administration, Tillerson, who is scheduled to visit India next week, referred to the rise of China, saying its behaviour and action is "posing a challenge to the rules-based global order".

Tillerson will deliver his remarks on "Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century" at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top American think tank, a statement said.

Interestingly, Tillerson said that India and United States would start a new dialogue on terrorist designations. By taking decisive actions against terrorists, Tillerson said, Pakistan furthers stability and peace for itself and its neighbours, and improves its own global standing.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a Washington audience that PM Modi's visit in June highlighted the many areas of cooperation that are already underway in this new era of strategic relationship.

"Our nations are two bookends of stability - on either side of the globe - standing for greater security and prosperity for our citizens and people around the world", he said, noting that the challenges and the dangers are substantial.

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Ahead of President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to five Asian countries including China, the United States is all set to announce its first major policy on India.

President Donald Trump in August unveiled his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in which he had hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to "agents of chaos" that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has "much to lose" by harbouring terrorists.

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

"In the past decade, our counter-terrorism cooperation has expanded significantly. I couldn't agree more", Mr Tillerson said, referring to US Defence Secretary James Mattis.

Early this month, the first consignment of American crude oil reached India and Indian petroleum companies plan to purchase crude oil worth Dollars 2 billion from the United States in the next one year. "As you know, this year marks the 70th anniversary of relations between our two countries", he said.

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Washington and India have been building stronger ties for some time, but Tillerson made one of the clearest cases yet for the "shared values" underpinning the relationship.

Promising greater prosperity and security in a "free and open Indo-Pacific", Tillerson did push India to open up its borders to more regional and USA trade.

"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. The US and India - with our shared goals of peace, security, freedom of navigation, and a free and open architecture - must serve as the eastern and western beacons of the Indo-Pacific", he said.

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

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

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last week warned that the Trump administration's desire to inject New Delhi in the war-torn country would be "detrimental" as he rejected any role for India in Afghanistan.