WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Secretary of Defense General James Mattis spoke by phone Wednesday evening with Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar, the two discussed putting an emphasis on the bilateral relations between the two countries. In their first phone conversation, Mattis committed to continue to build upon the incredible growth in bilateral defense cooperation between the two nations in recent years, Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said during a press conference.

“Secretary Mattis and Minister Parrikar affirmed their commitment to sustain the momentum on key bilateral defense efforts to include the defense technology and trade initiative,” Davis added.

An official of India’s Defense Ministry told the Times of India that Mattis and Parrikar agreed to meet in person at their earliest convenience. Parrikar reportedly solicited his expertise and counsel for Mattis’ dealings in the Middle East, the former served in Afghanistan and previously worked alongside U.S. Central Command.

The Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, inked in 2012 to identify military products for co-development and co-production, was also discussed by the two. The U.S. have offered joint development of the next-generation of military helicopters to India as part of the initiative. Additionally, the U.S. have secured $15 billion worth of Indian contracts since 2007, allowing them to surpass Russia as the country’s No. 1 client for a period of time.

Mattis, currently on his first international tour since being sworn-in as Secretary of Defense, has been receiving gleaming reviews from foreign dignitaries. To those who defended Mattis’ controversial appointment, all the credit goes toward a quality the public said was a detriment to his character.

His extensive military experience was a point of contention during the confirmation process, Democrats feared his appointment was a threat to a longstanding tradition of civilian control of the military. However, it was his military experience that reportedly earned him praise from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“I was very encouraged,” Abe told Mattis, “to see someone like you who has substantial experience, both in the military and in security, defense and diplomacy, taking this office.”

Mattis also traveled to South Korea, where he received a similar report card from South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-goo. Han discussed how he believed he could build a friendship with Mattis, saying: “I believe this was possible because we both served as active-duty servicemen for 40-plus years.”