Reflections

In South Asia, U.S. Security Ties Come With a Twist

Oct 25, 2017 | 01:38 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on his first visit to South Asia.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in New Delhi on Oct. 24 for talks with Indian diplomats on Afghanistan, Pakistan and U.S.-Indian defense cooperation.

(ALEX BRANDON/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on his first visit to South Asia, is stepping into a tangled mass of relationships that has confounded diplomats for years. As he meets with the leaders of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, Tillerson will focus on two of Washington's core foreign policy objectives on the Indian subcontinent. First, the United States wants to find a way to wind down its involvement in the war in Afghanistan. The inexhaustible conflict -- which pits a Taliban-led insurgency against the NATO-supported Afghan National Defense and Security Forces -- continues to grind on after 16 years with no end in sight. Second, the United States is looking to build a defense-oriented partnership with India. That partnership is part of the wider U.S. strategy to counterbalance China's increasingly assertive presence in the South China Sea in particular and the Indo-Pacific region in general. Although Washington has clear goals in South...

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