India and the US will discuss a wide range of bilateral security issues and defence ties during national security adviser Ajit Doval's visit to the country. US defence secretary James Mattis will meet Doval on March 24, Pentagon spokesperson Capt Jeff Davis told reporters during an off-camera news conference. They are likely to discuss a wide range of bilateral security issues and those related to the defence relationship.
"Clearly India is a very strong security partner and a force in the region. We continue to have very good relationship with India in the region," Davis said in response to a question.
The Mattis-Doval meeting later this week would be one of the highest-level meetings between the two countries after the Trump Administration came to power on January 20.
Doval is also expected to meet his American counterpart Lt Gen H R McMaster at the White House, the first between the two national security advisors. Davis said he is not aware of the reasons for Doval's visit to the US, but the Defence Secretary would be meeting with the Indian national security advisor on the sidelines of the international meeting of anti-ISIS Coalition being hosted by the US State Department later this week.
Early this month, Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar met McMaster at the White House. During his Washington trip, Jaishankar was also scheduled to meet the defence secretary. But the meeting could not happen as Mattis was travelling.