US-India Global Review

transformation that’s taking place, one that will have far-reaching implications for the next 100 years: The United States and India are increasingly global part- ners with growing strategic con- vergence.” Tillerson was speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington Oct. 18 as he pre- pared for his first visit to India as a cabinet official. “Our nations are two bookends of stability – on either side of the globe – standing for greater secu- rity and prosperity for our citizens and people around the world,” he said. “President (Donald) Trump and Prime Minister (Narendra) 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 sov- ereign nations working toward greater peace and stability,” he said. Form & Substance The speech gave form and sub- stance to the administration’s poli- cy towards India and not just South Asia, but the broader Indo- Pacific region stretching from the vulnerable western flank of the U.S. It touched on a wide range of areas of cooperation ranging from military and defense to econom- ics and trade, and from promotion of democracy to freedom of navi- gation. “Tillerson’s speech was one of the most thoughtful and forward leaning speeches from this admin- istration,” asserted Jeff M. Smith, research fellow on South Asia at The Heritage Foundation. The core of the cooperation between the U.S. and India and New Delhi’s enhanced role that Tillerson outlined lies in the Indo- Pacific region where the “world’s center of gravity is shifting” — an area where the Washington and its allies confront China, which he said “subverts the sovereignty of neighboring countries and disad- vantages the U.S. and our friends.” In effect, President Donald Trump’s point-man for foreign poli- cy, just dramatically ratcheted up U.S. support for India’s role in the Indo-Pacific region vis-a-vis Beijing, delivering a clear mes- sage of preference for the democ- racy just as the Chinese Communist Party Congress was getting underway in Beijing, and days before Trump’ was scheduled to visit China. India, Tillerson said in no uncer- tain terms, weighed heavier on the scale of strategic security and 6 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JANUARY-MARCH 2018 Narendra Modi with Donald Trump. (Photo: Jay Mandal on Assignment).