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Will work with India to eradicate terror safe havens: Jim Mattis

In a two-day visit to India, Secretary Mattis held bilateral talks on taking defence cooperation forward

ANI  |  New Delhi 

Jim Mattis, US defence secretary, US
US Defence Secretary James Mattis pays homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti during a visit at India Gate in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Acknowledging that global poses a threat to the world, US Defense Secretary hit out at countries harbouring terrorists, saying 'there can be no tolerance of terrorist safe havens'.

In a veiled attack on Pakistan, Jim Mattis, who is on a two-day visit to India, said," There can be no tolerance of terror safe havens as global leaders India and the United States resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge."

After holding bilateral talks on taking defence cooperation forward, Mattis said, "U.S. goal is to promote pragmatic progress between Washington and New Delhi in our defence partnership, delivering defence inter-changeability aligned with Prime Minister and President Donald Trump's decision."

Secretary Mattis led the American delegation at the talks, while Nirmala Sitharaman led the Indian side.

Both sides took the defence cooperation between the two countries to an optimum level by committing to "dismantle the terror infrastructure" as India made it clear to the United States it will not contribute troops to Afghanistan, while continuing its developmental & other assistance to the war-ravaged country.

Mattis said, "In particular, we applaud India's invaluable contributions to Afghanistan and welcome further efforts to promote Afghanistan's democracy, stability, and security ".

"In the wide-ranging new relationship, security is one of the key strategic pillars, as we work to strengthen our defence relationship. We seek to expand our cooperation in building partnerships across the region," Mattis said

Reaffirming U.S. support for maritime cooperation across the Indo-Pacific, Mattis said, "Washington values India's leadership across the Indo-Pacific in addition to our growing global cooperation."

Reiterating that expanding maritime engagement is one of the top priorities, Mattis further said, "India-U.S annual maritime security dialogue is an important mechanism to develop a shared understanding of the challenges we face and the opportunities for cooperation in addressing them."

Calling India to play a larger role in the region, Mattis said, "India has a vital role to play in supporting southeast Asia's regional institutions - particularly ASEAN and in building partner capacity across the region."

"We also discussed ways to further deepen the robust defence trade and technology collaboration between our defence industries. We look forward to sharing some of our most advanced defence technologies through the defense technology and trade initiative. Cooperation in this area will improve the capabilities of both our militaries and reinforce the foundation for an enduring partnership," the joint statement said.

First Published: Tue, September 26 2017. 15:23 IST