New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday met US Defence Secretary James Mattis in Delhi and informed him that India will expand developmental activities to Afghanistan, but there will be no boots on the ground in the country.
She also discussed with Mattis the issue of safe havens given to terrorist in Pakistan. They both agreed that such sanctuaries should not be tolerated, she added.
Sitharaman requested Mattis to raise the issue of cross-border terrorism and terror safe havens when and if he visits Pakistan.
The growing menace of cross-border terrorism remained the key issue of the discussion between Sitharaman and Mattis.
"We both recognise importance of holding those who use terror as state policy to account and to dismantle infra that supports terror," Sitharaman said.
"Indo-US ties have not only grown in recent years, but also emerged as key pillar in strategic partnership," she added.
The world's largest democracies share strong and vibrant strategic partnership, and fundamental values and interests.
Commenting on terrorism, Mattis said, "India and US have suffered grievous losses to terrorism. We intend to work closely with India as we work to eradicate terrorism."
The US defence secretary, who arrived in Delhi on Monday for a two-day official visit, laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate earlier on Tuesday.
Mattis's India visit comes a little over two months after US President Donald Trump said that India must contribute and play a vital role in Afghanistan's path to peace.
On Tuesday, the US defence secretary acknowledged that India has already contributed significantly.
"We value India's invaluable contribution to Afghanistan and welcome further efforts to promote Afghanistan's democracy, safety and security," he said.
Outlining his administration's Afghan policy, Trump in August had said, “We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the US, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development."...