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India, US discuss deepening defence ties, maritime security

India, US discuss deepening defence ties, maritime security

India, US discuss deepening defence ties, maritime security

Addressing the media after meeting US Defence Secretary James Mattis, new Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman said, "There shall be no Indian boots on the ground in Afghanistan".

The two Defence Ministers also discussed the issues relating to maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the broader Asia-Pacific Region as well as regional connectivity issues.

There can be no tolerance of terror safe havens, as global leaders, India and United States have resolved to work together to eradicate this scourge, Mattis said without naming Pakistan during his talks with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

India will continue its development and medical assistance to Afghanistan but will not send troops, Ms Sitharaman said.

"We also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest".

According to an official statement from the Pentagon, Mattis will look to "underscore the enduring United States commitment to strategic partner India".

"The relationship we are building with India is not to the exclusion of other countries", said Mattis.

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New Delhi will also enhance its efforts to train Afghan soldiers in counterterrorism and help build its police forces, Sitharaman said. "There is growing convergence in the approaches of both our countries on this issue", Sitharaman said.

"I am looking forward to sharing some of our most advanced defense technologies with India".

"We also discussed ways to further deepen the robust defence trade and technology collaboration between our defence industries. India's contribution has been there and we shall expand if necessary", she said. Pakistan Prime Minister S.K. Abbasi's recent statement that India has "zero political and military role" in Afghanistan has little meaning when the Afghan government and its global supporters wants an intensified engagement by India.

Seetharaman told Mattis that he should take up the issue of terror safe havens with Pakistan even as the latter did not name Pakistan.

Last month, while outlining his new strategy for Afghanistan, Trump urged India to assist security efforts in Afghanistan.

While praising India's support for Afghanistan when announcing his strategy, President Trump blasted Pakistan for harboring jihadists who are fighting and killing USA troops in their allies across the border in Afghanistan, an accusation that Islamabad has long denied.

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