Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that the situation in India’s neighbourhood and growing menace of cross-border terrorism were discussed in-depth with US Defence Secretary James Mattis, according to ANI report. Sitharaman said that India and US share strong and vibrant strategic partnership as world’s largest democracies as well as fundamental values and interests. Speaking on the situation in Afghanistan, Sitharaman said that India will expand development activities, but there will be no boots on the ground. She also said that US is now a leading state-of-the art defence equipment supplier to India. On his part, the US Defence Secretary said US appreciates India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean and seeks to work together to build a resilient regional architecture. Mattis said that India and US recognise the threat that global terrorism poses to people throughout the world. “There can be no tolerance of terror safe havens, as global leaders India-US resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge,” the Defence Secretary said. Meanwhile, Mattis laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate. Mattis is the first Cabinet Minister of the Trump Administration to visit India.
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US Defence Secretary, James Mattis & Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman discuss the issue of global terrorism pic.twitter.com/oqWM7EJ1Ss
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Earlier, before embarking on his trip to New Delhi, Mattis had said both India and the US have a historic opportunity to set a refreshed partnership built on shared values of democracy, freedom of expression and human dignity. He had said that for America India was clearly a pillar of regional stability and security. “We have a historic opportunity to set a refreshed partnership between our nations, and it’s a partnership built on respect, trust and the shared values of democracy, freedom of expression and human dignity. And our vision aims to support an open, just and rules-based global order,” Mattis was quoted as saying by PTI. He said he will discuss the joint efforts to advance common goals through a broader strategic exchange of views during his visit from September 26-27.