US-India bilateral defence talks begin after ceremonial reception for Secretary Mattis
New Delhi , Sept. 26 : India and the United States are holding bilateral talks on taking defence cooperation forward here today soon after a ceremonial reception and guard of honour was given to visiting US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
While the American delegation at the talks is being led by Secretary Mattis, the Indian side is being led by recently appointed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

According to reports, both sides are expected to review existing levels of defence cooperation between the two countries and will decide on next steps in that direction.Afghanistan's security situation will also be discussed during the defence dialogue.This is the first US Cabinet-level visit to India after the Trump Administration assumed office on January 20 this year.

Secretary Mattis will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is expected to underscore Washington's enduring commitment to a strategic and defence partnership with New Delhi, as also on jointly countering terrorism, maritime, regional and global issues. He will also meet National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Prior to his arrival in New Delhi, Secretary Mattis has emphasized that the United States views India as a valued and influential partner, and added that the broad mutual interests of the two nations extends well beyond South Asia, a U.S. Department of Defence statement said.

During his visit from September 26. to September 28, Secretary Mattis will also participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial dedicated to the unknown soldier at India Gate.

India's Ambassador to the United States Navtej Sarna said that the India-U.S. relationship has been transformed into a global partnership.

"One major factor that contributes to the India-U.S. global partnership are the challenges that the world faces, Today, India and U.S. stand together on many world issues. India and U.S. have alignment, strong convergence on countering terrorism, maritime. There is a challenge to keep your waters free for legitimate navigation, trade and energy transport and again. India have a convergence of connectivity , various theatres particularly like Afghanistan," Sarna said.

(Posted on 26 September 2017, 1675181035 18O232O179O5)