US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the US has elevated its engagement with India as part of its policy to create a "free and open Indo-Pacific" region.
Tillerson said the US has "long had a trilateral relationship in the Indo-Pacific between Japan, Australia."
He said America is working towards making this a "quad relationship to include India."
Tillerson calls India a "rising economy," highlights mutual security concerns
Tillerson said the decision to pursue a quadrilateral in the Indo-Pacific which includes India comes "because of the importance of India's rising economy as well and I think shared national security concerns that we have with India."
Tillerson calls Beijing's South China Sea militarization unacceptable
Regarding US-China ties, Tillerson acknowledged differences arising from Beijing's militarization of its islands in the disputed South China Sea and how this impacts American allies "in terms of free and open trade."
He said the US considers China's South China Sea militarization unacceptable.
He hoped China would freeze its actions. "Whether we can reverse, it remains to seen," he added.
Tillerson slams OBOR for not adhering to international norms
Tillerson said the US is pursuing a "free and open Indo-Pacific."
This contradicts China's development under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) policy.
Tillerson believes OBOR doesn't adhere to international rules and norms, a concern also raised by India.
However, he clarified that the US doesn't "seek to contain China's economic development."
Tillerson: 'No one country gets to choose belt or road'
"China has One Belt, One Road; the United States and the global economy has many belts and many roads, and no one country gets to choose the belt or the road," Tillerson said, quoting US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.