Mattis to meet Sitharaman to boost Indo-US defense ties

21 Sep 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

US Defense Secretary James Mattis will be visiting New Delhi on September 25 where he'll attempt to forge "a strong political connect" to boost the Indo-US defense cooperation.

Mattis will be meeting India's recently appointed Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss maritime security, counter-terrorism, defense co-production and more.

The meeting would mark Sitharaman's first major engagement with a foreign counterpart.

In context: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to visit India

21 Sep 2017Mattis to meet Sitharaman to boost Indo-US defense ties

AgendaMattis to discuss China, Afghanistan during meeting with Indian leaders

Besides Sitharaman, Mattis will also meet Indian PM Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Mattis is expected to discuss maritime security, a joint concern for India and the US in the face of the Chinese navy's increased presence in the Indian Ocean Region.

He will likely reiterate US President Donald Trump's calls for India to do more in securing and developing Afghanistan.

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Defense partnershipMattis to discuss drone sale, joint defense development

US defense majors Lockheed Martin and Boeing have both offered to manufacture their F-16 and F/A-18 fighter jets, respectively, in India to meet Indian Air Force and navy requirements.

Mattis would likely make the case for both US firms while meeting his Indian counterpart.

However, Trump's protectionist agenda could dent Modi's 'Make in India' program for defense production.

AnalysisMattis-Sitharaman would look to replicate Carter-Parrikar equation

Mattis's visit has raised hopes that he and Sitharaman would be able to develop a similar equation as the one shared by former Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (Obama administration).

Parrikar and Carter were credited with forging a close friendship that helped push through bureaucratic bottlenecks in their respective countries to make great strides in the Indo-US defense partnership.