The US Defence Secretary is the only Cabinet-rank official from the Trump administration to have visited India twice — in September 2017 for a bilateral visit, and again in September 2018 for the first Indo-US 2+2 dialogue.
US media widely attributed the resignation of Jim Mattis to prolonged differences between Donald Trump. The schism between the two started in May when the US President chose to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal without having his Defense Secretary on board.
Mattis announced on Thursday his plan to resign, a move prompted by the decision by the president to pull all of the approximately 2,000 US troops from the fight against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria.
Trump, officials said, also decided on deep cuts in the 14,000 troops serving in Afghanistan — a war he long derided as a misadventure and only grudgingly agreed to continue under pressure from Mattis, among others.
"It's time for everyone to get on board, support the United Nations; support Prime Minister Modi's, (Afghan) President (Ashraf) Ghani and all those who are trying to maintain peace and make for a better world here," Mattis said.
The US military said Mattis had authorized the military to provide "mission-enhancing capabilities" to US Customs and Border Protection, including engineering support to help build temporary barriers and housing.