US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were working to built an “ambitious” partnership, which would not only benefit both the nations but also others working towards peace and stability.
Speaking on “Defining Our Relationship with India for Next Century” at a conclave, Tillerson said Modi’s visit to the US in June highlighted several areas of cooperation. “Trump and Modi are committed – more than any of our leaders before them – to building an ambitious partnership that benefits not only our two great democracies but other sovereign nations working toward greater peace and stability,” said Tillerson before CSIS, a top US think tank.
The leader said both US and India should stand together to counter terrorism and acknowledged the fact that since the last decade, their cooperation in eliminating extremism had expanded significantly. Commenting on the terrorist groups that have been given a safe haven in Pakistan, the secretary of state said, “We expect Pakistan to take decisive action against the terrorist groups based in their own region. It is the obligation, and not the choice of every civilized nation to combat terrorism.”
The former head of ExxonMobil said the US-India ‘2 plus 2’ dialogue would pave the way for strengthening of bilateral ties in the future. “We are looking forward to the ‘2 plus 2’ inaugural dialogue with PM Modi and President Trump,” he said, adding the US and India should work together to maintain “peace and stability” in the Indo-Pacific region.
Slamming China for its “provocative actions” in the disputed South China Sea, the Tillerson said, “China’s actions in the South China Sea directly challenge the international law and norms that US and India both stand for.” He also noted that China, while compared to India, had contributed very less to counter terrorism.
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. “As you know, this year marks the 70th anniversary of relations between our two countries,” he said. Tillerson said his relationship with India went back to 1998, when he began working on issues related to India’s energy security and had made many trips to Delhi.
Tillerson also said US foreign direct investment in India had jumped by 500 per cent in the past two years alone and bilateral trade hit a record of $115 billion last year. “Together, we have built a sturdy foundation of economic
cooperation as we look for more avenues of expansion,” he said.