US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity for America to find more common ground with India

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Washington | April 27, 2018 4:44 PM

India is probably the one nation where the US has a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to find more common ground but both the countries have to get an understanding of each other's interests, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said.

Jim Mattis, narendra modi, major defence partner, donald trump, us ally, armed allies, india us relationship, Senate Armed Services CommitteeIn 2016, the US recognised India as a ‘Major Defence Partner’, a significant development which paved the way for the country to be treated at par with America’s closest allies for defence-related trade and technology transfer. (Reuters)

India is probably the one nation where the US has a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to find more common ground but both the countries have to get an understanding of each other’s interests, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said. India, a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the US, is seeking to purchase a large number of armed and surveillance drones from America. US President Donald Trump recently ordered government agencies to expedite and expand arms sales abroad, including exports of advanced drones to reinforce allied armies, a move expected to be helpful to countries like India.

“Probably most importantly, as we look overall at this region, I’d look at India, the largest democracy on the planet and one where we probably have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to find more common ground,” Mattis told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing. Mattis, during a Congressional hearing, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that: “Probably most importantly, as we look overall at this region, I’d look at India, the largest democracy on the planet and one where we probably have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to find more common ground”.

“I think it’s there. We just have to find it. We don’t have to search hard for it in the sense of creating it. We just have to get an understanding of each other’s interests. I think there’s a lot of common ground there,” Mattis said. He was responding to a question from Senator Mazie Hirono from Hawaii on the Indo-Pacific region.

“There is an ongoing effort to build our military structure in the Pacific. And much of this is by, with and through our allies. And I would say, from down under in Australia, all the way up through Japan and Korea, you see this actively underway. “We also have to be open to nations such as Indonesia, the fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific region; Vietnam, as it comes of age and adapts, with many of their students here in our country being educated, as we build new ties for the future,” Mattis said.

In 2016, the US recognised India as a ‘Major Defence Partner’, a significant development which paved the way for the country to be treated at par with America’s closest allies for defence-related trade and technology transfer.

In September last year, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Mattis held comprehensive talks on deepening bilateral military ties, including supply of advanced defence technologies to India. They also agreed to explore additional and specialised exercises between the militaries of the two countries.

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