Nirmala Sitharaman, US Defence Secretary James Mattis discuss cross-border terrorism

The Minister also discussed Afghanistan issue with her US counterpart, and clarified that India will not send troops to Afghanistan. Sitharaman also said that Mattis has assured her that he will raise with Pakistan the issue of terrorism emanating from there.

India on Tuesday ruled out troops deployment in war-torn Afghanistan even as it pledged with the USA to eradicate the "scourge" of terrorism for peace and stability. He will also be meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the capital. "I think Pakistan will find nothing out of line with India and the United States' alignment in the same fight", he added. The Trump administration, while announcing its new Afghan policy, asked India to do more to help Afghanistan with its developmental needs.

New Delhi has already invested more than $2 billion in economic aid to Afghanistan and has agreed to provide additional support to the Afghan security forces.

Mattis-Sitharaman will look to make India-US relations "shock-proof".

"The very same forces which find safe haven in Pakistan have been the ones who have hit NY as much as Mumbai", Sitharaman said.

On the issue of growing defence ties and strategic partnership, Sitharaman said the U.S. is now the leading supplier of state of the art weapon systems to India. I am confident that his knowledge and experience will contribute to further deepening defence and security cooperation between India and the United States.

"This is, again, a historic opportunity for our two democracies, a time of strategic convergence", Mattis said alongside Sitharaman. "We agreed that full implementation of India as a major defense partner will enhance the relationship", Sitharaman said.

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In a delegation between the defense ministers of the two nations, they resolved to eradicate terrorism safe havens (without Naming Pakistan), wherein James also said that these will not be tolerated. US willingness to sell the Sea Guardian underlines the willingness of Washington to transfer some of its most sensitive military technology to New Delhi.

India has alleged it needs at least 100 single-engine fighter jets to counter the growing air threat posed by China and Pakistan.

"There can be no tolerance of terrorist safe havens".

Mattis said the U.S. looked forward to sharing "some of our most advanced defence technologies through the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)".

Trump has praised India for contributing to regional peace and stability and for buying U.S. military equipment.

"We also discussed how to refocus and re-energize the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) as a mechanism to promote technology sharing as well as co development and co-production efforts", Ms Sitharaman said in a joint media briefing at South Block.

  • Adam Floyd