USA stand shoulder to shoulder against terrorism


In keeping with India's status as a "Major Defence Partner" a status overwhelmingly endorsed a year ago by the US Congress and our mutual interest in expanding maritime cooperation, the Trump administration has offered a menu of defence options for India's consideration, says US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson made the remark in a speech at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Speaking about peace and stability in South Asia and especially in Afghanistan, Tillerson said that apart from India, Pakistan too was an important partner of the U.S. in this. He called on India to fully embrace the "potential as a leading player in the global security arena", adding that the USA expects Pakistan to take "decisive action against terrorist groups" based within its borders.

"In doing so, Pakistan furthers peace and stability for itself and its neighbours and improves its own worldwide standing", he said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out the Trump administration's vision for the USA role in South Asia, arguing for greater US economic influence and military ties as he praised an "emerging Delhi-Washington strategic partnership" as an anchor for stability. India has also placed a large defence order with the USA worth billions of dollars.

This is Tillerson's first India policy speech after becoming the top American diplomat early this year.

President Trump also hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House in June.

"The Trump administration is determined to dramatically deepen ways for the United States and India to further this partnership", he said. He also pointedly criticized China, which he accused of challenging worldwide norms needed for global stability. He also pointed out that a year ago bilateral trade attained a record of roughly $115 billion. He said the US will turn to its partners to bring more stability to Afghanistan, where the USA has had troops for almost 16 years in what has become America's longest war.

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"Nearly four million Indian Americans call the United States home and are contributing as doctors, engineers and innovators and probably serving their country in uniform", Tillerson said. "China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly". While Pakistan was also a partner, he said, Washington expects Islamabad to "take decisive action" against terrorist groups within its borders to improve not just security in South Asia, but to improve its global standing.

Tillerson also said that the U.S. needed to collaborate with India to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region so that it did not become "a region of disorder, conflict and predatory economics".

Calling the United States and India "two bookends of stability on either side of the globe", the Trump administration on Wednesday bluntly proposed that Washington and New Delhi work together in the Indo-Pacific region to counter the disruptive force that China has become.

Taking on Pakistan, Rex Tillerson said Islamabad must act against terror outfits based in their own region.

Australia covers the South Pacific, while the USA defines the region at its eastern edge. But, we can not tolerate this government or any other government giving safe haven to terrorists who target Americans. He stressed growing defense cooperation between the two countries, and especially the annual three-way military exercises including Japan that are at the center of US efforts to push back against China in the greater Indian Ocean area.

The US is looking at India to help Washington more in Afghanistan particularly in economic and development assistance.

"We are eager to grow our relationship even as India grows as a world leader and power".

India's been talking about those concerns for a while, Ayers said, and "Tillerson's picking up on it as a core issue".

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