By Aroonim Bhuyan
Prior to his maiden visit to India in his official capacity, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made clear Washingtons position on key geopolitical and strategic matters pertaining to the Indo-Pacific and South Asian regions, saying the “Trump administration is determined to dramatically deepen ways for the United States and India” to further their strategic partnership that is heading for “strategic convergence” and put Chi and Pakistan on notice that it intended to “do what is needed” to support India.
“In this period of uncertainty and somewhat angst, India needs a reliable partner on the world stage. I want to make clear: with our shared values and vision for global stability, peace, and prosperity, the United States is that partner,” Tillerson said categorically while making a major policy statement at the Centre for Strategic and Intertiol Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC on Wednesday.
While asserting that Chi’s “provocative actions” went against the intertiol law and norms that the US and India stood for, Tillerson made it clear that Washington expected Pakistan to take “decisive action” against terrorist groups operating within its territory.
“Chi, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the intertiol, rules-based order even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other tions’ sovereignty,” Tillerson, who will be visiting New Delhi next week, said while delivering an address on ‘Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century’. The statement assumes significance in the wake of the 73-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam region of Bhutan. New Delhi and Beijing eventually withdrew their troops from the region on August 28 just days ahead of Prime Minister rendra Modi’s visit to Chi for the annual BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Chi, South Africa) Summit.
In his remarks, Tillerson also referred to Chi’s aggressive stance in the South Chi Sea region and said the US and India would work together for the security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Chi’s provocative actions in the South Chi Sea directly challenge the intertiol law and norms that the United States and India both stand for,” he said.
“The United States seeks constructive relations with Chi, but we will not shrink from Chi’s challenges to the rules-based order and where Chi subverts the sovereignty of neighbouring countries and disadvantages the US and our friends.”
Tillerson said that India and the US “should be in the business of equipping other countries to defend their sovereignty, build greater connectivity, and have a louder voice in a regiol architecture that promotes their interests and develops their economies”.
“This is a tural complement to India’s Act East policy,” he stated. In this context, he also said that the US, India and Japan were “already capturing the benefits of our important trilateral engagement” and said “India and the United States must foster greater prosperity and security with the aim of a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Indo-Pacific — including the entire Indian Ocean, the Western Pacific, and the tions that surround them — will be the most consequential part of the globe in the 21st century.”
These words will come as music to New Delhi’s ears ahead of Modi’s visit to the Philippines next month for the Association of Southeast Asian tions (Asean) and East Asia Summits.
Tillerson’s remarks also came amid Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assertion at this week’s tiol Congress of the Communist Party of Chi that Beijing would never give up its “legitimate rights and interests”. Despite US President Dold Trump’s new South Asia Strategy that sees Pakistan as an important partner, Tillerson made no bones about the fact that Washington expected Islamabad to take strong action against terror. (IANS)
(Aroonim Bhuyan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)