Ahead of his visit to India next week, President Donald Trump's top diplomat stated the US preference to work with New Delhi over Beijing during the next century to promote a "free and open" Asia-Pacific region led by prosperous democracies.
"For many decades the United States has supported China's rise", said the official.
"China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the global rules-based order", the top US diplomat said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and worldwide Studies about US-India ties.
The Secretary of State's remarks assume significance as they come ahead of the U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed Asia visit next month.
Kugelman said US policy toward India has been consistent for the last 15 years, but he noted that what makes the policy outlined by Tillerson a bit different is its explicit focus on China. India has also placed a large defence order with the U.S. worth billions of dollars. The US should collaborate with India to create a region of "peace, stability, and growing prosperity - so that it does not become a region of disorder, conflict, and predatory economics", he said.
A senior State Department official defended the timing of the speech, saying Tillerson also said he wanted a constructive relationship with China.
In another comment likely to upset Beijing, he said Washington saw room to invite others, including Australia, to join US-India-Japan security cooperation, something Beijing has called an attempt by democracies to gang up on it.More news: Building Collapse in Southern India Reportedly Kills Six People
"We expect Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorist groups based in their own region", Tillerson said, adding, "China's provocative actions in South China Sea directly challenge the worldwide law and norms that the USA and India both stand for".
Asked about Tilleron's highly critical comments, a senior State Department official said that "China is obviously an audience of the speech" and added that the USA hopes "all countries of the Indo Pacific region will take to heart" Tillerson's message.
China on Thursday told the United States to shed its biased views about Beijing which it said is well justified to safeguard its interests and rights.
"China will never develop itself at the expense of other countries", Lu told a regular briefing on Thursday.
He said Chinese financing was saddling countries with "enormous" debts and failing to create jobs.
Speaking less than a month before Trump is due to make his first state visit to China, Tillerson said the U.S. had begun to discuss creating alternatives to Chinese infrastructure financing in Asia.