Defence Minster Rajnath Singh speaks at a seminar in New Delhi on August 20, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@SpokespersonMoD  

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U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark T. Esper ‘appreciated’ India’s position, the Defence Ministry says.

In a telephonic conversation with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on August 20, U.S. Secretary of Defence, Mark T. Esper appreciated India’s position that recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir are an “internal matter of India,” the Defence Ministry said.“The Minister raised the issue of cross-border terrorism affecting India and appreciated U.S. support for India’s efforts 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,” Defence Ministry said in a statement. This is the first telephonic conversation between Mr. Singh and his U.S. counterpart since both took charge.Bilateral issueThe statement said Mr. Esper “appreciated” India’s position that the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir are an internal matter of India. “He hoped that any issue between India and Pakistan will be resolved bilaterally,” the Ministry stated.Both the Ministers also exchanged views on a range of issues related to military-to-military cooperation, defence policy, research and development cooperation, defence trade, technology and industrial cooperation, the Ministry said. The statement added that they “expressed satisfaction on the first tri-service joint exercise planned for later this year and steps taken to operationalise” the foundational agreements signed recently. Both the Ministers are scheduled to meet at the annual 2+2 dialogue later this year in Washington.Earlier on Monday, in a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Donald Trump sought reduction of tensions between the two countries.

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