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Tillerson In India After Visits To Pakistan, Afghanistan

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a media availability with Indian Foreign Minister after their meeting in New Delhi on October 25.

During a visit to India, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed concern that extremist groups pose a threat to the "stability and security" of the Pakistani government.

"This could lead to a threat to Pakistan's own stability," Tillerson told journalists on October 25 following talks with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi.

"It is not in anyone's interests that the government of Pakistan be destabilized," he added.

The secretary of state also thanked Swaraj for standing "shoulder to shoulder" with the United States in combating extremism in the region.

Tillerson is holding talks with Indian leaders as the two countries look to deepen relations and counter China's growing clout.

Tillerson said last week that Washington wants to "dramatically deepen" cooperation with Pakistan’s archrival India as it seeks to promote a "free and open" region led by prosperous democracies.

He arrived in New Delhi late on October 24 after visiting Islamabad at a time when bilateral ties are frayed following U.S. complaints about Pakistan allegedly providing "safe havens" for Islamist militants.

Tillerson “reiterated President [Donald] Trump's message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country," according to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

Tillerson also voiced appreciation for the "sacrifices" Pakistan has made in fighting militancy and for its help in securing the recent release of a U.S.-Canadian family held captive by the Taliban for five years.

The trip came after Trump unveiled his new strategy for South Asia in August, accusing Islamabad of harboring "agents of chaos" who could attack U.S.-led NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

It followed an unannounced stop on October 23 in Afghanistan, where Tillerson reiterated America's commitment to the country as the Western-backed government in Kabul is struggling to beat back insurgents in the wake of the exit of most NATO forces in 2014.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met with Indian leaders in New Delhi on October 24 to discuss bilateral relations, regional security, and the fight against terrorism.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa