US-Pakistan agree to firm up defence ties
Washington: The US and Pakistan have agreed to enhance cooperation in areas of mutual strategic interest, including counter-terrorism and maritime security, as part of their commitment to strong defence ties.
The 22nd meeting of the Defence Consultative Group (DCG) held at the Pentagon was co-chaired by US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy James N Miller and Pakistan Lt Gen (Rtd) Asif Yasin Malik over the past two days.
The DCG is the primary forum for exchanging views and coordinating defence policy to support the security interests of both countries. The last meeting was held in December 2012 in Rawalpindi.
While the Pakistan delegation provided an update on its military campaign along the Pakistan-Afghan border, the American delegation gave a brief on International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) activities in Afghanistan, including the 2013 transition of lead for security to the Afghan National Security Forces.
"Affirming their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship, the delegations agreed that Pakistan-US defence partnership is vital to regional and international security and that it should continue to endure and grow in the years ahead," said a joint statement after the meeting.
"Both delegations welcomed continued efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation based on mutual interests and trust. Both delegations acknowledged that bilateral counter terrorism cooperation has been critical to weakening violent extremists and agreed that it will continue after 2014."
Both the delegations shared their assessments of the bilateral relationship and discussed strategic priorities in counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and maritime security, and agreed to broaden cooperation to other areas that serve their mutual interests, the statement said.
Both sides reviewed the challenges to regional security, during which they emphasising the importance of regional peace and stability, especially following the US drawdown in Afghanistan, it said.
"Recognising the mutual desirability of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, the US delegation thanked Pakistan for its support for promoting reconciliation and reaffirmed the US commitment to continued engagement in the region," the joint statement said.
Underscoring the critical significance of cross-border cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to achieve shared objectives, the two delegations expressed satisfaction on the Lines of Communication (LOCs).
The US delegation noted Pakistan`s positive efforts to counter threats from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). To bolster this cooperation both sides agreed to continue working together to build counter-IED capacity, the statement said.