James Mattis and Nirmala sitharaman
James Mattis and Nirmala sitharaman

Mattis terms India as closest US ally

ANI | Updated: Sep 06, 2018 20:34 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept 6 (ANI): Terming India as its major defence partner, United States Secretary of Defence James N. Mattis on Thursday said that the US is elevating the defence relationship to be at par with its closest allies.
"India's leadership in the world supports our shared democratic values regionally and globally. We also recognise the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, renaming US Pacific Command to the US Indo-Pacific Command. With India as a major defence partner, we are elevating our defence relationship to be on a par with our closest allies as we deepen the broader US-India relationship, enhancing our interoperability, our defence trade, our technology innovation and industrial collaboration, and bolstering our people-to-people bonds," Mattis said while speaking to the media after the India-US 2+2 Dialogue on Thursday.
"We see the US-India relationship as a natural partnership between the world's two largest democracies, a partnership that is based on convergence of enduring strategic interests and shared respect for the rules-based order," Mattis said.
"Our discussion today is a testament to the power of free peoples. I note that over seven decades ago this week, the United States established diplomatic relations with India, prior to its formal Independence. Today, our partnership has become one of the most consequential in the region and in the world," he added.
He mentioned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement at the Shangri-La Dialogue last June that said `a commitment to common values must be shared.the foundation upon which we build a shared destiny.'
"The US and India already have that foundation in our commitment to a safe, secure, prosperous, and free Indo-Pacific region, where sovereignty of all nations is respected, international norms are upheld, disputes are resolved peacefully, and nations freely transit international waters and airspace, and further to borrow Prime Minister Modi's words again, nations are free from impossible debt burdens imposed by others," he said.
Talking about terrorism, Mattis noted that 2018 marks 10 years since the Mumbai attacks, where innocent citizens from the US as well as 10 other nations perished at the hands of international terrorism. "And we do not forget," he said. (ANI)