‘US-Pak military ties at difficult crossroads’

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 14:20

Washington: The US-Pak military ties are
at a "very difficult" crossroads, the top American military
commander has said, with the path to retrieve them not yet

But Washington is nowhere close to severing its
military ties with its long-time ally, Admiral Mike Mullen,
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs"of Staff, told foreign
journalists at a news conference here.

"We`re in a very difficult time right now with respect
to our military-to-military relationship," Mullen conceded in
his last media interaction on Monday before he retires at the
end of this month.

The retiring admiral said he hopes that the two
nations would find a way to recalibrate those ties. "We need
to work through the details of how this is going to happen."

Mullen was responding to questions about the fate of
military ties to Islamabad in the wake of suspension by Obama
administration of a USD 800 million military aid to Pakistan.

"I think that decision is representative of concerns,
certainly, that are held in my Congress with respect to the
status of the relationship, the needs to do certain things to
move ahead here, and that`s a very strong signal in that
regard," he said.

Despite the recent visit here by Pakistan ISI chief Lt
Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, media reports have said that strains
continue in the military-to-military cooperation between the
two nations.

But, the outgoing US military chief asserted that the
two countries were not close to snapping the defence

"I don`t believe we`re close to severing it, and we
shouldn`t do that. I think sustaining this relationship is
critical. We`ve been through difficult times with them in the
past, and we should see this difficult time through, in terms
of sustaining this relationship over time," Mullen said.

He said his interactions with the military leadership
of Pakistan, including General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, indicates
that Islamabad too was supportive of continuing the bilateral


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First Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 14:20

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