Defense Secretary James Mattis Visiting India

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (right) is currently partaking in a three day visit to India, the first cabinet level under the Trump Administration.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is currently partaking in a three day visit to India, the first cabinet level under the Trump Administration. Mattis will reportedly meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during his stay, with the goal of strengthening the pace of U.S.-India defense cooperation and India’s role in peace and security in the Asia Pacific region.

The bilateral defense deals will discuss expanding trade and investments under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiatives, along with specific proposals on F-16 and F-18A jets under Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. American companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin have offered to assemble the fighter jets in India.

“The Secretary will emphasize that the United States views India as a valued and influential partner, with broad mutual interests extending well beyond South Asia. The Secretary will also express US appreciation for India’s important contributions toward Afghanistan’s democracy, stability, prosperity, and security,” said a Pentagon statement. Mattis is also expected to discuss how to advance “major defense partnership”, a designation given to India by the previous Obama administration which has been continued by the Trump administration. The Pentagon is keen for more India specific documentation that would provide fundamental processes, satisfy India’s concerns and meet Congressional legislative mandates.

This is the first visit by a U.S. cabinet official since Modi’s trip to the U.S. in June. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in New York during the UN General Assembly session.

Vikram Chauhan, one of the co-founders of the US India Political Action Committee says, “Secretary Mattis’ visit to India sends a strong signal, on the importance of US-India bilateral defense partnership and recognizes India’s vital role in fighting terrorism and maintaining peace in the Asia-Pacific region.”

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