Discussions between US Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson, who arrived in New Delhi
on Tuesday evening, and the Indian leadership are likely to see a congruence of views on the situation in South Asia and the need to strengthen security collaboration in the Indo-Pacific area.
The two countries have also expressed similar concerns on China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative. Tillerson
is also expected to discuss with the Indian leadership cooperation in defence, counterterrorism, security, energy and trade.
is the second high-ranking official of the Donald Trump
administration to visit India
in last two months. US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited India
The US secretary of state
is scheduled to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and hold talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. He leaves India
on Thursday morning, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The Trump administration has been critical of Pakistan
for providing safe haven to terrorists. In Kabul, he said the Trump administration believed India
can play a positive role in creating a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
The Trump administration wants New Delhi’s assistance in capacity building in Afghanistan.
In a major India
policy speech, Tillerson
said last week the US was India’s “reliable partner” at the world stage in this period of uncertainty and angst. He had said China’s actions were “posing a challenge to the rules-based international order". He had also spoken of a 100-year strategic partnership with India
in the region, and had commented at the gains of the trilateral cooperation between the US, India
and Japan, with the need to include Australia as well.
In New Delhi
on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi
and visiting Afghanistan
President Ashraf Ghani
stressed, in a reference to Pakistan, on the need to close cross-border sanctuaries for terrorists. They also had a detailed one-on-one discussion, a restricted meeting and a working lunch, a statement by the external affairs ministry said.
“The efforts for early operationalisation of the Chabahar port, including the shipments of wheat in coming weeks to Afghanistan
through the port, was considered as a step that would shape new trade and transit opportunities for landlocked Afghanistan," the statement said. The Indian side reiterated the readiness of its integrated check post at Attari to receive Afghan trucks carrying goods.
Later in an address at the Vivekananda International Foundation, Ghani said if Afghanistan
was not given transit access to Wagah and Attari for trade with India
via Pakistan, Kabul would also restrict Islamabad’s access to Central Asia. He attacked Pakistan
for providing unfettered support to terror groups.
Ghani said the South Asia strategy announced by the Trump administration was a “game changer” as it recommended multi-dimensional condition-based approach for the region.
“It (the strategy) singled out India
for engagement in this approach."
On defence cooperation, he said: “Our collaboration with India
is very open. We are delighted with the four helicopters (received from India). More Mi-35 helicopters are welcome."