United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday promised to sustain the defence cooperation between India and the US, PTI reported. In a phone call with Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Mattis promised to “sustain the momentum on key bilateral defence efforts” between New Delhi and Washington, including on the defence technology and trade initiative.
Pentagon press secretary Jeff Davis said Mattis also emphasised the “strategic importance” of the US-India relationship and New Delhi’s role in “advancing global peace”. This was the first conversation between the two leaders since President Donald Trump was sworn in last month.
While Trump campaigned for the presidency on a range of foreign policy issues including fighting the Islamic State, it is unclear how his administration will approach the US-India relationship.
Former president Barack Obama’s administration enjoyed a good rapport with the Narendra Modi-led Centre, with New Delhi being named a “major defence partner” of the US in December 2016. In April last year, the two countries had also agreed in principle to use each other’s land, naval and air bases for resupplies and repair.