NEW DELHI — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Delhi in the evening of Oct. 24 on his maiden official visit to India.
Tillerson will stay in India for a three-day visit, during which he will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Tillerson is on a five-nation visit from Oct. 20-27, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan and Switzerland, according to the U.S. State Department.
Prior to arriving in India, the secretary of state was in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he told the country it must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country.
Tillerson, who was in Islamabad for a few hours on his inaugural trip to Pakistan as secretary of state, met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and discussed the continued bilateral cooperation and partnership, expanding economic ties between the United States and Pakistan and Pakistan's critical role in the region, said a U.S. Embassy press release.
The top U.S. official reiterated President Donald Trump's message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country.
To address those concerns, the secretary outlined the United States' new South Asia Strategy and the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that can bring stability and security to the region.
The secretary noted that Pakistan and the United States share common interests in establishing a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, defeating ISIS in South Asia and eliminating terrorist groups that threaten both Pakistan and the United States.
In all meetings with Pakistan's leaders, Tillerson expressed appreciation for Pakistan's sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. He also expressed his gratitude to the government of Pakistan and the Pakistani Army for their cooperation in securing the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity, the statement said.
Abbasi also chaired an inter-agency meeting attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Defense Khurram Dastigir Khan, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, ISI chief Lt. Gen. Naveed Mukhtar and other officials.
Tillerson's visit came a day after he made an unannounced visit to Kabul where he said the U.S. has made some "very specific requests" to Pakistan to take action to "undermine the support that the Taliban receives and other terrorist organizations receive in Pakistan."
Talking to journalists at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan Oct. 23, Tillerson said that in Pakistan he will discuss U.S. demands for securing Afghanistan and its conditions for continuing their relationship.
"We have made some very specific requests of Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives and the other terrorist organizations receive in Pakistan," he said.
"And we've said in this whole strategy this is a conditions-based approach, and so our relationship with Pakistan will also be conditions-based. It will be based upon whether they take action that we feel is necessary to move the process forward of both creating the opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan, but also ensuring a stable future Pakistan," he said.
"I think the U.S. has made it clear in terms of our support for Afghanistan, support for a sovereign, unified and democratic Afghanistan, charting a path to peace, prosperity and self-reliance. It is imperative at the end that we are denying safe haven to any terrorist organizations or any extremists to any part of this - the world," he said.
Tillerson said the U.S. wants to work with regional partners to ensure that there are no threats in the region and that the strategy is a regional effort.
"So we're demanding others also deny safe haven to terrorists anywhere in the region," he said. "We are working closely with Pakistan in that regard as well."