As China's clout in the Asia-Pacific region rises, the United States is wooing India into a closer embrace. Standing beside Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during his maiden visit to South Asia as secretary of state this week, Rex Tillerson said the United States "supports India's emergence as a leading power."
Washington envisions India firmly anchored in U.S. strategy for a peaceful, stable Afghanistan, helping to strengthen Afghan capacities and institutions.
And further east, the U.S. wants India to partner with Japan and Australia as a hedge against Chinese aggression. Across the region, countries watch nervously as Beijing asserts territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The U.S. also wants India working with it to build road and port connectivity in what the Trump administration calls the Indo-Pacific region, as a sort of alternative to China's ambitious One Belt One Road initiative, which aims to stimulate economic growth across Asia and beyond, building massive amounts of infrastructure that connect China to countries around the globe.
Tillerson's remarks that too many terror groups in Pakistan found "safe havens" to launch attacks on others generated the most headlines in the decidedly anti-Pakistan Indian press.