US, India defence secretaries discuss Afghanistan security

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in India on Tuesday and met his counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi.

He is also expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The goal of the visit of the US Secretary of Defense to India is to expand India’s defense plans, part of which is the unfinished war of Afghanistan,” according to Middle East Press correspondent.

On the sidelines of the trip, a new strategy for the United States and the sale of F-16 fighters to India is being discussed.

India which was given the status of Major Defence Partner during the previous Obama administration expects to get greater access to US defence technology. The two sides will also discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the help India can provide to support President Trump’s Afghan strategy.

Trump while unveiling his Afghanistan policy called for a wider participation from India in Afghan region.

Reports indicate that Mattis is scheduled to arrive in Kabul on Wednesday (September 27) but officials have not confirmed this news so far.

“The Secretary of Defense sees India as the most important and influential partner in Asia,” said the Pentagon.

Mattis also criticized Pakistan’s lack of effective action against terrorists before traveling to India, saying that expanding ties with India would not mean isolating Pakistan.

India has contributed more than $1 billion in infrastructure in Afghanistan in recent years, and India’s role in Afghanistan will be further enhanced by the announcement of a new leader.

Ties between India and the United States have rapidly expanded with New Delhi buying weapons worth $15 billion over the last decade from the United States, moving away from traditional supplier Russia.


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