By Abhaya SRIVASTAVA
Fighter jets, drone deals and shared concerns over Afghanistan's security look set to dominate the agenda when US Defense Secretary James Mattis visits India this week.
Mattis is scheduled to arrive late Monday and is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his new defence minister, in the first visit by a top US official since Donald Trump became president in January.
"The United States views India as a valued and influential partner, with broad mutual interests extending well beyond South Asia," a Pentagon statement said.
Trump and Modi met in June in Washington and the visit by Mattis is a sign "the political leadership in both countries place defence cooperation as a top priority", Mukesh Aghi, president of the US India Strategic Partnership Forum, told AFP.
Delhi and Washington share concerns about Afghanistan, with Trump announcing a new strategy for the war-torn country last month which cleared the way for the deployment of thousands more US troops.
The president has urged India to increase assistance to Afghanistan's economy, and has lambasted Delhi's arch-rival Pakistan for offering safe haven to "agents of chaos".
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