There Can Be No Safe Havens for Terrorists: Jim Mattis in India

As global leaders, the two nations resolve to work together to eradicate terrorist shelters, U.S Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said alongside Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman.


India and the United States will work together to eradicate terrorism, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sept. 26 in New Delhi during his ongoing visit to India. Mattis met his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman, and sought involvement in bringing stability in Afghanistan.

Strong Message to Pakistan

“This is, again, a historic opportunity for our two democracies, a time of strategic convergence,” Mattis said alongside Sitharaman.

“There can be no tolerance of terrorist safe havens. As global leaders, India and the United States resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge,” he added, in a veiled mention about Pakistan. Islamabad has been facing heat under President Donald Trump’s administration to dismantle the terrorist groups operating from its territory that are responsible for attacks in India.

Sitharaman also spoke about the partnership between India and the United States in the global fight against terrorism. “Both countries recognize the importance of holding those who use terror as state policy to account and to dismantle infrastructure that supports terror,” she said.

Contribution in Afghanistan

Mattis also sought India’s role in Afghanistan, saying, “We applaud India’s invaluable contributions to Afghanistan, and welcome further efforts to promote Afghanistan’s democracy, stability, and security.”

Sitharaman, however, said that though India will provide assistance in development and medical aid to Afghanistan, it will not send troops. “There shall not be any boots on the ground from India,” Sitharaman said, responding to a question at a joint press conference with Mattis.

India already provides assistance in Afghanistan, and has spent billions of dollars in infrastructure, health and education sectors.

Sitharaman also added that defense cooperation between the two countries has reached new heights, with the United States now being the leading arms supplier to India.

The Pentagon chief’s 48-hour trip is the first to India by any member of Trump’s cabinet. The visit comes just days after Trump unveiled a new Afghan strategy and requested India to assist in rebuilding the war-torn nation.

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