NEW DELHI - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday the United States is concerned that extremist groups are threatening the “stability and security” of the Pakistan government.

Tillerson, who arrived in New Delhi late Tuesday after a brief and tense stop in Islamabad, said too many extremists were finding sanctuary inside Pakistan to launch attacks on other nations. He said Pakistan had an interest “in not just containing these organisations but ultimately eliminating” the groups.

“Quite frankly my view - and I expressed this to the leadership of Pakistan - is we also are concerned about the stability and security of Pakistan’s government as well,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

“This could lead to a threat to Pakistan’s own stability. It is not in anyone’s interests that the government of Pakistan be destabilised.”

Tillerson, while addressing a joint press conference along with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, said that Washington backed India as a leader in the region, a day after he sought Pakistan’s cooperation in restoring peace in Afghanistan and calling the country an ‘incredibly important’ player to deal with some of the pressing challenges facing the region. Tillerson added that India was crucial to Afghan strategy.

But America’s top diplomat - whose frosty visit to Islamabad lasted just four hours - said the United States would not tolerate extremist safe havens. He thanked India for its support combating extremism.

“In the fight against terrorism the United States will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with India,” he said. New Delhi has welcomed US overtures for closer ties, saying it shares Washington’s optimism about their burgeoning relationship.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Tillerson called for deeper cooperation with India in the face of growing Chinese influence in Asia, and said Washington wanted to promote a “free and open” region led by prosperous democracies.

Trump’s top diplomat also said Beijing sometimes acted outside international conventions, citing the South China Sea dispute as an example.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said that Trump’s strategy for the region hinged on Pakistan eradicating militant havens on its territory.

“We believe that President Trump’s new policy can succeed only if Pakistan effectively acts against all terror organisations without any discrimination,” she told the press conference with Tillerson.

India has historically avoided alliances, preferring to maintain cautious relations with both Washington and Beijing, but Trump has developed a warm relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, India has agreed to hold talks on Afghanistan with the US and Kabul, Sushma Swaraj said after meeting Tillerson.

On North Korea, Swaraj said that, “New Delhi believes diplomatic presence in North Korea was necessary to keep the lines of communication open, despite Washington’s efforts to isolate the country over its missile tests.” She however added that trade between the two nations has been significantly reduced and the embassy has very few staff members.

On Chabahar port, Tillerson said “Our (US) objective is not to harm the Iranian people nor interfere with the legitimate business activities of the country. US is worried about the activities of Iran’s revolutionary guard and their subsidiaries and wants to impose sanctions on them.”

The US secretary of state said the Trump administration was ready to share its best technology for India’s military modernisation, adding that it looked forward to discussing deals for F16 and F18 fighter jets with New Delhi.

He said India was crucial to US-Afghanistan strategy and his government was looking at strengthening cooperation with India in the India-Pacific region.

Swaraj said she raised the issue of H1B visa with him and requested Tillerson not to take action that might adversely affect Indians.