Tillerson visits India seeking help fighting Taliban in Afghanistan

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited India Tuesday — part of a multi-day trip to Asia and the Middle East that officials say is designed to cement a relationship instrumental in ending the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disembarks from his airplane upon arrival at the Nur Khan military airbase in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Tuesday. Later, he arrived in New Delhi, India, with Afghan President . Photo by Aamir Qureshi/EPA-EFE/Pool
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disembarks from his airplane upon arrival at the Nur Khan military airbase in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Tuesday. Later, he arrived in New Delhi, India, with Afghan President . Photo by Aamir Qureshi/EPA-EFE/Pool

After making a surprise visit in Afghanistan Monday and traveling from Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Tillerson and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrived in New Delhi.
Tillerson seeks a design for the region which involves a cooling of tensions between India and Pakistan, as well as persuading the Pakistani government to take stronger action to end ties with the Taliban and other jihadist groups. Withdrawal of support would end the war in Afghanistan, India Express reported Tuesday.

Last week, Tillerson addressed the Center for Strategic and International studies in Washington, D.C., and identified India as one of “two bookends of stability on either side of the globe” — the United States being the other — and mentioned Pakistan and China as disruptive forces in the region.

“India needs a reliable partner on the world stage, and the U.S. is that partner,” Tillerson said.

The Asia and Middle East trip, an ambitious diplomatic initiative to secure partnerships in the region, comes as President Donald Trump’s administration has developed a “conditions-based” approach to Pakistan that involves cutting ties with jihadists undermining stability in Afghanistan.

Pakistani Prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said “injecting” India into the relationship will not lead to a resolution.

India is expected to seek additional military technology from the United States, including state-of-the-art military drones.

By Ed Adamczyk