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Nirmala Sitharaman refuses to deploy Indian troops on Afghanistan soil

Nirmala Sitharaman refuses to deploy Indian troops on Afghanistan soil

She said, security situation in Afghanistan and maritime security in Indian ocean were discussed.

Responding to it, Sitharaman said, "India will expand development activities to help stabilise the war-torn country, but there shall not be any (Indian) boots on the ground in Afghanistan". He will also be meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the capital. "As global leaders, India and the U.S. resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge".

During meetings with senior Indian officials in New Delhi, Mattis stressed that the United States and India are "natural strategic partners who share common values and interests".

The Defence Minister, however, added that India has contributed consistently to Afghanistan by building dams, schools and providing medical assistance and training to its people.

"India's contribution to Afghanistan has been for a very long time, and has been consistently on developmental issues", Sitharaman said at a news conference with Mattis.

Mattis said the United States valued India's leadership across the Indo-Pacific.

Terrorism and the ways to combat it were also discussed even as concern was expressed on the "growing menace of cross-border terrorism" on which a growing convergence in the approaches of both the countries was recorded.

"We don't foresee any military or political role for India in Afghanistan", proclaimed Pakistani PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last week.

The US president also chided Delhi's arch-rival Pakistan for offering safe haven to "agents of chaos". We look forward to sharing some of our most advanced defence technologies through the defense technology and trade initiative.

"My goal on this trip is to promote pragmatic progress between us and our defense partnership, delivering defense interoperability, aligned with Prime Minister Modi and President [Donald J.] Trump's direction", Mattis said, adding that in the wide-ranging new relationship, security is one of the key strategic pillars.

Mattis earlier laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate and inspected tri-service Guard of Honour at the South Block lawns.

As regards Pakistan, she said India and USA appreciated the importance of making accountable those who use terrorism as a state policy and stressed the need for dismantling the terrorist infrastructure.

Often India-US relations have suffered because of external factors like India's dealings with Russian Federation or US cutting down on visa for software professionals.

"The US-India Business Council (USIBC) wrote to India's defence minister last month seeking a guarantee that USA firms would retain control over sensitive technology - even as joint venture junior partners", the report said.



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