India sees U.S as an important defence partner: Minister

Commencing her five-day official visit to the United States, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asserted that New Delhi sees the U.S as an important partner in the field of defence.

In her remarks at the start of her bilateral talks with the U.S Defence Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon, Nirmala said mutual trust and confidence in defence partnership between the two countries were growing.

The defence minister added that she was encouraged by the importance attached to the India-U.S defence relationship in the new U.S National Security Strategy.

"A strong foundation has been laid for the India-U.S defence relationship over the years. India sees the U.S as an important partner in defence," Nirmala said, adding that the two countries have good military to military cooperation, defence consultations, scientific collaborations and co-production and co-development and industry collaboration.

Exuding confidence that the bilateral talks would accord greater momentum to the dialogue and partnership between the two countries, she said the relationship continued to be very strong.

The recent meetings between the two countries, Nirmala said, have underscored their mutual desire to move positively. The high-level exchanges are an indication of the depth and the quality of bilateral ties as well as their mutual desire to work closely on a range of regional and global issues, she added.

(with news agency inputs)