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Drones, fighter jets on agenda as Mattis arrives in India today – Newspaper

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JAMES Mattis.—AFP

NEW DELHI: Fighter jets, drone offers and shared issues over Afghanistan’s safety look set to dominate the agenda when US Protection Secretary James Mattis visits India this week.

Mr Mattis is scheduled to reach late on Monday and is ready to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his new defence minister, within the first go to by a high US official since Donald Trump turned president in January.

“The USA views India as a valued and influential accomplice, with broad mutual pursuits extending nicely past South Asia,” a Pentagon assertion stated.

Afghan concern may also come underneath dialogue in talks with Nirmala Sitharaman

Mr Trump and Mr Modi met in June in Washington and the go to by Secretary Mattis is an indication “the political management in each nations place defence cooperation as a high precedence”, stated Mukesh Aghi, president of the US India Strategic Partnership Discussion board.

Delhi and Washington share issues about Afgha­nistan, with Mr Trump asserting a brand new technique for the war-torn nation final month which cleared the best way for the deployment of 1000’s extra US troops.

The president has not too long ago urged India to extend help to Afghanistan’s economic system.

Mr Mattis “will specific US appreciation for India’s essential contributions towards Afghanistan’s democracy, stability, prosperity, and safety”, the Pentagon stated.

Specialists are usually not anticipating any Indian boots on the bottom, although there could also be some position for Indian navy experience in supporting the US-led coaching and advisory mission with Afghan safety forces.

India has lengthy vied with Pakistan for affect in Afghanistan, constructing dams, roads and a parliament constructing within the troubled nation. Final 12 months, it provided some $1 billion in help.

Arms gross sales

In 2016, the US designated India a “main defence accomplice” with the purpose of accelerating navy cooperation and reducing crimson tape to ease defence offers.

Mr Mattis’s predecessor Ashton Carter pushed onerous for stronger defence ties and the Trump administration has not signalled any intention of adjusting course on this.

President Trump has praised India for contributing to regional peace and stability and for purchasing US navy tools.

Mr Mattis is more likely to search to influence India to purchase Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 plane in a deal probably value $15bn.

Lockheed Martin has provided probably the most upgraded model of the jet fighter to India, the world’s largest weapons importer.

The US producer is competing with Swedish defence large Saab, whose Gripen E made its maiden flight in June.

India has stated it wants at the least 100 single-engine fighters to counter what it says the rising air menace posed by China and Pakistan.

Saab and Lockheed have each provided to construct the jets regionally to adjust to Mr Modi’s “Make-in-India” initiative, which goals to chop imports and construct a home defence business.

US large Boeing has additionally provided to arrange a plant in India for manufacturing of its F/A 18 Tremendous Hornet plane if it wins a deal.

A drone deal for the Indian Navy may also seemingly be up for dialogue, in response to a supply accustomed to the negotiations.

“Since Chinese language property have began to dominate the Indian Ocean area, the Trump administration is eager on fast-tracking the acquisition of the drones,” the supply stated.

Many commentators have stated that US-India cooperation is essential to countering China, which has been growing its navy capabilities within the Asia-Pacific.

However Afghanistan can be entrance and centre when Mr Mattis meets Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who will host her highest-level overseas delegation since being appointed earlier this month.

The go to comes because the Indian military takes half in a two-week joint navy coaching train in the US to forge nearer ties on counter-insurgency, regional safety operations and peacekeeping.

Printed in Daybreak, September 25th, 2017

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