United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss China’s growing influence in Asia.
Last week, Tillerson gave a speech regarding the U.S.’ desire to "dramatically deepen" ties with India to combat what he described as a negative Chinese influence in the region.
Last year, the two countries reported bilateral trade of $115 billion and seek to expand this to $500 billion by 2022, though the U.S. maintains a multi-billion dollar trade deficit with the Asian country.
India and the U.S. are quickly expanding defense ties as U.S. defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing are vying for multi-billion dollar contracts. The U.S. does not, however, have an overseas military base stationed in India at present.
These deepening ties are part of a strategy to compete in the region, and globally, with China, which is an important policy of the current U.S. administration headed by President Donald Trump who has repeatedly called for an "America first" policy.
Tillerson has said in the past that the rise of India and China differ in that China has no respect for international law. He accused Beijing of using bad financial tactics to bury smaller countries in debt. Conversely, the secretary has praised India as a pillar of stability.
China is quickly expanding in Asia, and around the world, through its massive infrastructure campaign called "One Belt, One Road," that is promising $1 trillion in infrastructure development and is winning contracts throughout the world.
The New York Times has described China’s infrastructure initiative as a "more audacious version of the Marshall Plan."
One of China’s major contracts in Asia is a 260-mile long tunnel that will run through Laos and will eventually connect eight countries in Asia.
China has also invested $46 billion to build up Pakistan’s energy sector by building power plants. Pakistan and India have long-standing hostilities.
“The Chinese investments in the region are peaking and its every strategic move is crafted to realize its agenda to become an economic superpower ...,” the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce said in a press statement. “India offers a pathway for the U.S. to make its economic presence in the region and to meet the developmental imperatives of the nations in the region.”