In a telephonic conversation with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday, United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper appreciated India’s stance that recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir are an “internal matter”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
“The Minister raised the issue of cross-border terrorism affecting India and appreciated US support for India’s effort to maintain peace and stability in the region. He said that issues relating to Article 370 are an internal matter of India which are aimed at improving growth and economic development, democracy and prosperity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the MoD said in a statement.
Esper told his Indian counterpart that he hoped that any issue between India and Pakistan will be resolved bilaterally, the MoD said in the statement.
Aside from the discussion on Kashmir, the two Defense leaders touched upon significant progress in bilateral defence cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen and deepen the relations further, the Defence Ministry said in the statement. They also exchanged views on a range of issues related to military-to-military cooperation, defence policy, R&D cooperation, defence trade, technology and industrial cooperation. They expressed satisfaction on the first tri-service joint exercise planned for later this year and steps taken to operationalize agreements like LEMOA and COMCASA, the statement read.
Singh also invited the US companies to invest in the Indian defence manufacturing sector under the Make in India programme. Both the ministers looked forward to the 2+2 dialogue later this year in the US, the statement said.
Earlier today, US President Donald Trump had asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to “moderate rhetoric” with India over Kashmir hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a telephonic conversation, told him that “extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence” by certain leaders in the region was “not conducive to peace”, PTI reported.