Top US Defence Official To Visit ‘Valued Ally’ India, Hold Talks With PM Modi

New York: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will visit India and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman to reaffirm that Washington considers New Delhi a valued and influential ally. This is the first cabinet-level official’s visit to India under the Trump administration.

“The secretary will emphasise that the United States views India as a valued and influential partner, with broad mutual interests extending well beyond South Asia,” the Pentagon said in a statement yesterday.

During his two-day visit starting September 26, the Pentagon chief will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at India Gate, and meet with PM Modi and Ms Sitharaman in New Delhi.

“The secretary will also express US’ appreciation for India’s important contributions toward Afghanistan’s democracy, stability, prosperity, and security,” the Pentagon said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also held a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York. The two leaders discussed Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism, among other issues.

After the India-US summit at the White House in June, PM Modi and President Donald Trump had announced that both nations will continue to share strategic and defence information and hold regular talks.