Why Rex Tillerson’s India Visit Is Important
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will arrive in India today evening as part of his first official visit to South Asia.
Tillerson’s three-day visit follows his talks with the Pakistani leadership. It’s his first trip to India after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his new South Asia strategy in August, acknowledging that India had an important role in it. Trump said the U.S. wanted to further develop its strategic partnership with the world’s largest democracy and sought more help in Afghanistan.
Tillerson, before embarking on this trip, had said the U.S. would turn to India to ensure greater stability in Afghanistan and throughout the region. He also sought to contrast U.S.-India relationship with its ties with China. “China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international rules-based order, even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other nation’s sovereignty,” the U.S. State Department website quoted him as saying.
The other key aspect of the visit will be his comments on Pakistan. In August, Trump had criticised India’s neighbour for its failure to rein in the terror network. He, however, later praised the Pakistan leadership in his tweets. ‘’Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts,” he said.
Replying to a query during his Afghanistan visit on Monday, Tillerson said the U.S.’ relationship with Pakistan was “conditions based”. “We have made some very specific requests of Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives, and the other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan,” he said.
Here’s Tillerson India itinerary, according to Ministry of External Affairs.
- Tillerson arrives in New Delhi at 8.05 p.m.
- 11:30 a.m.: Meets Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj
- 12:45 p.m.: Press interaction
- 4.30 p.m.: Calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi
- Leaves for U.S.