Pakistan, US agree to boost defence coop

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and the United States have agreed to enhance defence cooperation including challenges relating to countering Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs).
The understanding came during a meeting of the Pak-US Defence Consultative Group in Washington yesterday. Pakistan side was led by Defence Secretary Lt. General (Retd) Alam Khattak while US Under Secretary of Defence Christine E. Wormuth led her country's team.
A joint statement issued after the meeting said the two sides expressed satisfaction over promotion of cooperation in security sector. They also agreed to continue cooperation for regional security and peace. The United States reiterated that it would continue to provide assistance for boosting capacity of Pakistani security forces. Pakistan expressed its resolve to take the on-going operation against terrorism to its logical conclusion.
The United States and Pakistan also discussed continuing support for security assistance, and the Coalition Support Fund including stability activities along the border areas by Pakistan. The US delegation noted Pakistan's positive efforts to counter threats from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
To bolster this cooperation, both the sides agreed to continue working together to build counter-IEDs capacity. Both sides look forward to the upcoming defense resourcing conference in spring 2016 to continue planning security cooperation.
Both the delegations welcomed the continued positive trajectory of the U.S.-Pakistan bilateral security relationship and acknowledged that bilateral cooperation remains vital to promoting regional security, peace, and stability.
They expressed satisfaction that the bilateral security partnership had played a critical role in degrading Al Qaida and other violent extremists in the region. Both the sides reaffirmed their commitments to a strong defense relationship in the coming years, which they stressed, should focus on achieving common strategic objectives particularly related to counterterrorism (CT), regional stability and other areas of cooperation.
During the plenary session, the DCG participants discussed each country's strategic priorities, and agreed to move forward with defense cooperation in areas of common interest. The United States reiterated its support for the Armed Forces of Pakistan in their ongoing operations in tribal areas including North Waziristan and recognized disruption of militant networks as significant progress towards stabilizing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The reviewed the numerous challenges facing regional security, and shared their views regarding the importance of regional peace and stability and expressed support for efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani delegation provided an update on their cooperative activities with the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Force, and both sides agreed that continued cooperation particularly border management between Pakistan and Afghanistan is critical to meeting the enduring security requirements on both sides of their shared border.
The delegations reaffirmed that the DCG remains an invaluable forum to discuss strategic defense policy issues and exchange views on shared security concerns. They committed to work towards deepening their strong and long-standing defense partnership.

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