U.S. supports India's emergence as leading power: Tillerson

ANI | Updated: Oct 25, 2017 16:23 IST

New Delhi [India], October 25 (ANI): United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said the U.S. supports India's emergence as a leading power.

Speaking at a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Tillerson lauded India, saying, "India and the United States are natural allies. The two nations stand shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism."

While the U.S. Secretary of State criticised Pakistan for not acting against the terrorists operating within the country, Swaraj said, "The recent attacks in Afghanistan are a proof that safe havens and supporters of terrorism are active. Pakistan needs to act on this."

External Affairs Minister said she was happy to inform that the defence and strategic relations have deepened between India and the U.S. after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit.

"This is the second time I have had the privilege to meet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a month," she added.

Swaraj also reminded that India, the United States and Afghanistan will have a tri-lateral meet in December.

Before the joint conference, Tillerson met Swaraj in New Delhi, where both leaders discussed bilateral, regional and global issues.

"We also discussed the important contribution of Indians working in the U.S. on H1B visa," Swaraj said.

Tillerson ephasised that "India is crucial to the U.S.A.-Afghanistan strategy and that America backs India as a leader in the region."

Also, Tillerson and Swaraj in a joint stand against terrorism, slammed Pakistan for providing safe havens to terror outfits.

While Swaraj emphasised that Pakistan needs to act against the terrorist organisations operating within the country, Tillerson said that they were putting in place a mechanism to deny these outfits the ability to launch attacks against other countries.

Tillerson said, "In my discussions in Islamabad, we were frank to conclude that there are too many terrorist outfits that find safe havens in Pakistan. We are putting in place a mechanism to deny these outfits the ability to launch attacks against other countries."

Sushma Swaraj categorically said, "U.S. President Donald Trump's policy on terrorism can only succeed when Pakistan takes an action against the terror groups."

The U.S. Secretary of State, who is on a two-day visit to India, yesterday made his inaugural trip to Pakistan, where he reiterated Trump's message that Islamabad must increase its efforts to eradicate the militants and terrorists operating within the country.

"We want to work with Pakistan in a positive way as we think this is in their interest in the longer term," Tillerson said.

Tillerson arrived in India last evening for his two-day visit to India.

He is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence.

The U.S. Secretary of State's visit to India is a part of his five-nation tour that includes Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Switzerland alongside. (ANI)