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Kashmir India's internal matter: US defence secretary Mark T. Esper


US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper


New Delhi: Newly-appointed US defense secretary Mark T. Esper told defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday that Kashmir was an internal matter of India and that all India-Pakistan issues need to be settled bilaterally.

Rajnath Singh held a telephonic conversation with Esper on Tuesday to congratulate him on his appointment.

Esper appreciated India's position that the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir are an internal matter of the country. Rajnath Singh also raised the issue of cross-border terrorism and appreciated US support to maintain peace and stability in the region.

During the course of the conversation, Rajnath Singh invited US companies to invest in the Indian defence manufacturing sector under the Make in India programme.

The ministers discussed about bilateral defence cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen and deepen mutual relations.

They also exchanged views on issues including military-to-military cooperation, defence policy, research and development cooperation, defence trade, technology and industrial cooperation.

India and the US are scheduled to hold the first tri-service joint exercise later this year. Both Rajnath Singh and Esper expressed satisfaction over steps taken to operationalise agreements like the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement.

India and the US are also scheduled to hold the 2+2 dialogue, of Defence and Foreign Ministers, later this year in the US.

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