United States says it will work with India against terror havens

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The US Secretary of Defence James Mattis today arrived on a two-day visit to India and was received by Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi.

Mattis "will express USA appreciation for India's important contributions toward Afghanistan's democracy, stability, prosperity, and security", the Pentagon said.

But Mattis, the Trump administration's first cabinet official to visit India, said the two countries would work together to fight terrorism. He will also be meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the capital.

India and USA once again reiterated their united stand against Pakistan's approach towards terrorism. The Trump administration, while announcing its new Afghan policy, asked India to do more to help Afghanistan with its developmental needs. Sitharaman said India's contribution to Afghanistan has been there for a very long time in development activities like building dams, schools, hospitals, roads and any institution which the country may require.

Sitharaman said, "The very same forces which did find safe haven in Pakistan were the forces that hit NY as well as Mumbai". But Afghanistan will dominate talks when Mattis meets Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who will host her highest-level foreign delegation since being appointed this month.

Expanding naval cooperation with India was a top priority, Mattis said, adding that three-way exercises involving the United States, India and Japan boosted operational cooperation.

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Sharing his concerns, Sitharaman said: "We also believe that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means and in accordance with the universally recognized principles of worldwide law".

The two Defence Ministers also resolved to eradicate terrorist safe havens across the globe.

Echoing Trump while talking to reporters on his flight to New Delhi, the defense secretary praised India's important support to Afghanistan, indicating that Islamabad should not construe its regional rival's expanded involvement in the war-devastated country as a threat.

Responding to a question on Pakistan, Mattis said it has come out recently again saying that they are fighting the terrorists.

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.

"The U.S.is now a leading state-of-the-art defense equipment supplier to India", she added. This is especially important because it has been seen in the past that whenever a United States minister visited Pakistan or India, they used to visit the second country.

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