Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, in his first India-policy speech, expressed the need of having a strong bilateral relationship between India and the US for the next 100 years. During the speech, Tillerson lashed out against China, calling the country a threat to the world order. He also criticised Pakistan for not demolishing terrorism from their soil.
Tillerson began with Diwali wishes
People all over the world celebrated Diwali on October 18. Paying respect to them, Rex Tillerson started his speech by wishing everyone a 'Happy Diwali.'
The White House has been celebrating Diwali for years, and Tillerson's special Diwali wishes affirm the growing care and concern of the United States towards India.
"So first, let me wish everyone a happy Diwali to all our friends in the United States, in India, around the world who are celebrating the Festival of Lights. Generally, fireworks accompany that. I don't need any fireworks; I'm getting too many fireworks around me already. So we'll forgo the fireworks," said Tillerson.
The need of a strong Indo-US relationship
Throughout the speech, Rex Tillerson talked about the necessity of a strong Indo-US relation.
"As we look to the next 100 years, it is vital that the Indo-Pacific, a region so central to our shared history, continue to be free and open, and that's really the theme of my remarks to you this morning," said Tillerson.
"President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are committed, more than any other leaders before them, to building an ambitious partnership that benefits not only our two great democracies, but other sovereign nations working toward greater peace and stability," continued Tillerson.
Tillerson also added that the Trump administration is quite determined to strengthen the bond between India and the US, which will fetch dramatically positive results in the future.
Tillerson lashes out against China and Pakistan
When it comes to the Asian continent, India and China are two unquestionable players with unending military and human resources. During his speech, Tillerson took enough time to hail India, and he did not forget to lash out against China for continuing provocations in the peninsula.
According to Tillerson, the irresponsible acts of China are literally destabilizing the world order, especially the country's provocative actions in the South China Sea which pose a direct challenge to international laws.
"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 nations' sovereignty," said Tillerson.
Even though the United States wish to have a constructive relationship with China, it will not tolerate China's moves which will turn against the US or its friends.
Tillerson did not speak a lot about Pakistan, but his three sentences about the country were enough and more to storm the brains of Lahore officials. Tillerson strongly asked Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorist groups based within their own borders. The US Secretary of State added that demolishing terrorism from their soil will bring about peace to Pakistan, and will also improve its standing among the International public.
Tillerson's speech came just a week before he is expected to visit India.
Reactions to Tillerson's speech
The speech of Rex Tillerson is receiving positive responses from India, but it has not gone well with China.
According to political experts, the pro-India attitude of the US has been irking China for the last couple of years, and Beijing has reportedly predicted similar statement from White House or the Secretary of the State, at least 12 months back. As Donald Trump is expected to visit China in September, Beijing will surely express their strong disappointment on the comments made by the US Secretary of State.
On the other hand, Nisha Desai Biswal, an Indian-American expert on South Asia called the speech of Tillerson 'very bold and robust.' According to Biswal, a strong relationship between India and Pakistan will create immense opportunities for both the countries, and will also help to work together on important issues.
"I think, it's a very bold and robust vision that also understands the importance of economics and trade in that relationship and that the US and India have an opportunity to partner to provide alternatives to what he described as some of the predatory economic behaviours by countries that have drawn concern across the Asia-Pacific," said Biswal, who is joining the US India Business Council as its president next week.