Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her US Counterpart Jim Mattis

NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON (TIP): To strengthen maritime security, India and the United States have agreed to implement the programme for Helicopter Operations from Ships other Than Aircraft Carriers (HOSTAC), the Pentagon has said.

A decision in this regard was taken by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her US Counterpart Jim Mattis during their meeting in the Philippines on Wednesday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.

“The two emphasised the importance of strengthening maritime security cooperation, and, in support of this objective, decided to implement the programme for Helicopter Operations from Ships other Than Aircraft Carriers (HOSTAC),” the Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W White said.

Sitharaman and Mattis “agreed on the importance of a rulesbased international order” in which all nations are able to prosper, and the “need to work together” against the common threat of terrorism, White said.

They discussed a range of initiatives to strengthen US-India defence cooperation and enhance India’s leadership role in the Indo-Pacific, White said. This was their second meeting in less than a month. Mattis had travelled to India late last month.

“This is a moment of strategic convergence for the US and India,” White told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

Source: PTI

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