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Modi meets Mattis, shares perspective on Indo-Pacific


Singapore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region and other issues of mutual and global interests with US Defence Secreary James Mattis here on Saturday. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue a day after Modi delivered the keynote address to the Asian security summit, calling for a rules-based order in Asia and an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, with the ASEAN at the centre. "The focus of conversation was on the region in the context of the PM's keynote address at the #SLD18" Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval was present at the closed-door meeting that lasted nearly an hour. Mattis, in his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday, referred to Modi's address, the importance of India and said he supported the prime minister's vision. "Standing shoulder to shoulder with India, ASEAN and our treaty allies and other partners, America seeks to build an Indo-Pacific where sovereignty and territorial integrity are safeguarded --the promise of freedom fulfilled and prosperity prevails for all," said Mattis. "For as Prime Minister Modi reflected last night, a commitment to common values must be a foundation or even the foundation upon which we build a shared destiny." The Pentagon this week renamed its Pacific Command as Indo-Pacific Command, in a step that many see as the Trump administration's move to draw India to the US defence planning. Asked about the name change and what exactly it signifies in a Q&A session, Mattis said: "With the symbolism, I've been asked about that several times last night and this morning. The bottom line is we should be willing to adapt the name of the command to reflect more accurately its focus. "As we've looked right now at the role of the Indian Ocean with the largest democracy in the world coming into its own with economic progress there in India, we need to recognize that there's a growing significance to the Indian Ocean, to the Indian subcontinent, and certainly to India itself. So I want to make certain that the title actually reflects the reality. And there's a changing reality. The world's always changing, and that's all this was. "Now underneath that, there are things that have been going on which show, as I referenced in my prepared remarks, that we are in fact dealing with our priority theater. I-- I don't trumpet those things. We've replaced, for example, third generation fighters with fifth generation fighters, we've added our most capable ships to the commander of Indo-Pacific Command's fleet during the last year or two, and we will continue to address this theater as a priority and properly defined as now the Indo-Pacific Command." The US is focusing on efforts to strengthen relationships and modernise its alliances in the Indo-Pacific region as a priority for 21st century security interests and sustaining U.S. global leadership. Mattis also met several defence ministers of the region and discussed how the US Indo-Pacific Strategy would contribute to security, according to defence department release.

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