MEA appreciates Rex Tillerson's positive evaluation of Indo-US relations

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Mr Tillerson's remarks put India in a delicate situation, coming as they do towards the end of a year in which New Delhi's relationship with Beijing has been particularly fraught.

A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday hailed the speech and also sought to underline the congruence of views between India and the United States on China's assertiveness in the South China Sea, as well as New Delhi and Washington DC's misgivings over Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) infrastructure project.

Pakistan was the main U.S. ally in South Asia for decades, but United States officials are frustrated with what they charge has been Pakistan's failure to cut support for the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, where the administration wants India to play a bigger role in economic development.

"So that's what he talked about, including financing mechanisms, and he did talk about some of the predatory economics that we see in the area, and you have countries that are looking for better financing mechanisms and better partners, and we believe that countries like the USA and India are those partners", the official said.

He accused Beijing of taking "provocative actions" in South China Sea.

"We'll never have the same relationship with China, a non-democratic society, that we can have with a major democracy", Mr Tillerson told a think tank in Washington.

"In this period of uncertainty and somewhat angst, India needs a reliable partner on the world stage". In the little that he said, he pointed out: "We expect Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorist groups based within their own borders that threaten their own people and the broader region".

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On October 18, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a DC-based think tank, Tillerson delivered a speech on the US relationship with India for the next century.

In his five-nation, week-long tour next week, Tillerson is scheduled to visit India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Switzerland. In Islamabad Tillerson will meet with senior Pakistani leaders to discuss continued strong bilateral cooperation.

Tillerson will visit India next week and is expected to visit Islamabad to implement the South Asia strategy of President Donald Trump. The US defence secretary James Mattis had raised the idea again during a visit to New Delhi last month, the Indian government said. "We look forward to welcoming him in India next week for detailed discussions on further strengthening of our partnership", the statement said.

He also compared this to India that "operates within a framework that protects other nations' sovereignty".

China responded with a statement saying it "contributes to and defends the rules-based world order" and seeks to advance global cooperation through the United Nations.

As Tillerson said about the shared values, shared security, shared national security interests, shared economies, shared democracies, this is a great friendship that USA wants to expand and deepen on all areas.

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