America’s relationship with India is of strategic importance which is not limited to South Asia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said today. Tillerson, who paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan today, said the Trump administration was of the view that India can play a positive role in creating a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. “They already are providing important economic activity – creating jobs – which is important for the future Afghanistan. And we think they – we want to encourage that as well. We think they can be a very positive influence on creating the right environment for the future in Afghanistan,” he said.
“I think, our view of the relationship with India is one that’s of strategic importance not just for this specific region, but in the context of that speech it was about a free and open Indo-Pacific region stretching all the way from Japan to India,” Tillerson told reporters at the Bagaram Air Force Base on his arrival for his maiden visit to South Asia.
He was responding to a question on his major India policy speech last week in which he sought broader goals for India-US relationship.
In addition to Afghanistan, Trump is scheduled to travel to Pakistan and India during his current trip to South Asia.
He said during his visit to Pakistan he would discuss with the Pakistani officials the role of India in Afghanistan. “That’s certainly something we’ll be talking about during the visit tomorrow,” he said.