"Rex Tillerson is trying to apply the traditional US administration tactics and strategy of playing India off against China," Andrei Volodin, an expert at the Institute of Contemporary International Studies of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy told Sputnik China.
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, Rex Tillerson stressed that the Trump administration wanted to "dramatically deepen" ties with India in the face of a rising China, which he described as "at times undermining the international, rules-based order."
Commenting on the above statement, Andrei Volodin explained that the US is very closely economically interconnected with China and thus it will only be able to use India against Beijing to a certain degree.
“I don’t think that India is able to have a considerable impact on the balance of power in the South China Sea or in the East China Sea. China is very well aware that US is trying to use India in its own interests, while certain circles in India try to use Washington for their own purposes”, the expert said.
According to the expert, China does not regard India as an equal on the international arena, therefore it is always very composed, balanced and somewhat indifferent in commenting about such statements, just reiterating that it is still eager to further develop its relations with India on a mutually beneficial basis.
Hence Vilodin ruled out any possible breakthrough in the Beijing-Washington-New Delhi triangle, such as a declaration of India’s support for the USD on the South China Sea and the East China Sea crises.
Meanwhile, Su Hao, an expert at the Diplomatic Academy of China, pointed out to Sputnik that Tillerson’s comments also come ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to China, which is scheduled for November. Thus they could be regarded as a strategic move, trying to gain an advantage ahead of the upcoming negotiations in Beijing.
According to the expert, the comments are not necessarily aimed at countering China, as the relations between Beijing and Washington are quite stable.
Chinese-Indian relations have their own logic, although there are certain disagreements and discrepancies between the two countries, Su Hao stressed.
Su Hao suggested that there could be a certain rapprochement between the US and India which will result in the signing of a number of documents. It still remains to be seen whether they will be of any significance or it will merely be a show, he concluded.