Mattis says no tolerance for terrorist sanctuaries, will work with India

Posted September 27, 2017

"The very same forces which find safe haven in Pakistan are the same that hit at NY and Mumbai", she said. Washington has urged India to increase its stake in Afghanistan. Today, I had useful discussions with Secretary Mattis on how we could strengthen our cooperation bilaterally as well as with the Government of Afghanistan in pursuit of our common objective of a peaceful, democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

"We value India's contribution to Afghanistan and welcome further efforts to promote democracy, safety and security in the war-ravaged Asian state, " he added.

President Donald Trump last month announced the new strategy and called for contribution of India in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Mattis was speaking after talks with Indian leaders aimed at deepening military ties.

Indian and USA negotiators are now trying to move forward with a deal to supply the Indian navy with 22 Sea Guardian drone aircraft, whose June approval by the US government was the first such clearance to a non-NATO ally.

It is here that the unarmed drones will come in handy: They should help India monitor its surrounding water bodies for any and all Chinese threats.

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"I am confident that we are entering a new phase in our strategic defense partnership with the United States", said Sitharaman. But New Delhi turned down a US suggestion of regional joint patrols with the Indian navy, for fear of a Chinese backlash.

Often India-US relations have suffered because of external factors like India's dealings with Russian Federation or US cutting down on visa for software professionals. Talking to media persons in Washington before leaving for New Delhi, he said India and the United States have a historic opportunity to set a refreshed partnership built on shared values of democracy, freedom of expression and human dignity.

Mattis, ahead of the visit, met Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna at the Pentagon on Saturday. But Pakistan and, possibly, China could see the move as de-stabilising. The ambitious Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) remains the key platform to elevate the Indo-U.S. defense relationship from a buyer-seller engagement to a partnership model, working to co-develop and produce key defense technologies.

All this could be bad news for Pakistan, which has made several failed attempts to paint India in bad light in front of the global community, possibly to brush under the carpet its own failure to deal with terrorism on its own soil.

"We also believe that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means and in accordance with the universally recognised principles of global law", Sitharaman said in an apparent reference to China's dispute with countries in the rim of South China Sea.

Sweden's Saab is the other contender for the deal to supply at least 100 single-engine combat planes.