Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in meeting with her US counterpart James Mattis, discussed the issue of terror safe havens in Pakistan and both nations agreed that such sanctuaries shouldn’t be tolerated.
Sitharaman said that she made India’s stance on Afghanistan clear to Mattis, emphasising that it will not send troops to Afghanistan but will provide developmental assistance to the war-ravaged country.
“There shall not be any (Indian) boots on the ground in Afghanistan,” Sitharaman said.
“I borrowed the defence secretary's own (earlier) words when I explained to him that the very same forces that find safe haven in Pakistan have been the ones who've affected New York as well as other places,” she added after the meeting.
She said she also requested Mattis to raise the issue to cross-border terrorism if he visits Pakistan.
Mattis also commented on terrorism, saying that India and the US recognise the threat posed by terrorism to people across the world.
During his India visit from September 26-27, the US Defence Secretary will also meet National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mattis's India visit comes a little over two months after US President Donald Trump said that India must play a bigger role in Afghanistan's path to peace.
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This is also the first follow-up visit by a US cabinet official after Modi’s June trip to the US. During the visit, the two countries are expected to review the defence and strategic decisions taken by Mr. Modi and US President Donald Trump in June.
On Monday, Mattis had said that India has been a constant supporter of the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan. He lauded India for contributing tens of thousands of dollars for building infrastructure in Afghanistan and training Afghan officers.