Islamabad, February 19, 2014 (PPI-OT): General Lloyd Austin, Commander of the United States Central Command (US CENTCOM) termed Pakistan a vital partner for regional security while commending Pakistan’s strive in facilitating the drawdown process of US and ISAF Forces during a courtesy call on with the Secretary Defence Lt. Gen (retd) Asif Yasin Malik here in his office today.
The CENTCOM Commander said that both Pakistan and USA are important to each other’s national interests. He added that Pakistan has always been a useful partner and relations between the two countries are progressing on an upward trajectory.
Secretary Defence, Lt. Gen (Retd) Asif Yasin Malik reiterated that being a pivotal partner to the international community, Pakistan has sacrificed greatly in the war against terror. He asserted that Pakistan wants peace in the region and is ready to play its role for achieving the goal of lasting stability.
He said that the Armed Forces and people of Pakistan have courageously fought and withstood the menace of terrorism over the last decade. The Secretary Defence added that Pakistan earnestly wishes for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan and pursues a policy of non-interference in Afghan affairs. Moreover, Pakistan will always facilitate the reconciliation/peace process in Afghanistan for a durable peace in the Region.
The visiting US General acknowledged the role played by Pakistan Armed Forces and the sacrifices made in terms of men and material during the war on terror. He added that USA realizes the colossal loss of over 40,000 Pakistanis including soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces, as compared to NATO/ISAF Forces. He said that despite highly difficult terrain in border regions and well dug-in enemy, the successes made by Pakistan Armed Forces are highly commendable.
He said that Consultative Forums like DCG have helped us cement our military to military relations aimed at improving peace and stability in the region. He further added that continued support in training, education and Coalition Support Fund will act as tools necessary to keep relations on solid footing. H.E. Richard Olson, US Ambassador to Pakistan, was also present in the meeting.
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