Australia/Pakistan — Pakistan’s Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee visit

This week the Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton host­ed a vis­it to Can­ber­ra by Gen­er­al Khalid Shameem Wynne, Pakistan’s Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee.

Gen­er­al Wynne is vis­it­ing Aus­tralia for the fifth round of Pak­istan-Aus­tralia Defence and Secu­ri­ty Talks. Dur­ing his vis­it he met with heads of nation­al secu­ri­ty agen­cies and joined the Aus­tralian Strate­gic Pol­i­cy Insti­tute for a round­table dis­cus­sion this after­noon. He also made a cour­tesy call on Min­is­ter for Defence Stephen Smith.

The annu­al talks are a key pil­lar in Australia’s Defence Coop­er­a­tion Pro­gram with Pak­istan and pro­vide high-lev­el strate­gic guid­ance for the defence rela­tion­ship.

At the Defence and Secu­ri­ty Talks, Gen­er­al Wynne and Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton dis­cussed the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in Pak­istan and our shared inter­est in coun­ter­ing vio­lent mil­i­tant extrem­ism there.

Both sides wel­comed the recent Unit­ed States oper­a­tion that result­ed in the death of Osama Bin Laden. Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton not­ed that this high­light­ed the con­tin­u­ing impor­tance of close counter-ter­ror­ism coop­er­a­tion between Pak­istan and the Unit­ed States and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty.

The sit­u­a­tion in Afghanistan was also dis­cussed with Gen­er­al Wynne. Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton wel­comed Pakistan’s engage­ment on rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Afghanistan as an essen­tial ele­ment of an endur­ing polit­i­cal set­tle­ment in that coun­try.

Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton under­lined the impor­tance of Pak­istan play­ing a pro­duc­tive and respon­si­ble role in achiev­ing a polit­i­cal set­tle­ment in Afghanistan.

The talks also cov­ered the sig­nif­i­cant increase in defence coop­er­a­tion between Aus­tralia and Pak­istan over the past few years, par­tic­u­lar­ly the rise in train­ing cours­es in Aus­tralia offered to Pak­istan mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

Train­ing course offers have increased from around 70 for 2009/10 to more than 140 in 2011. Aus­tralia has also increased the num­ber of post grad­u­ate schol­ar­ships offered to Pak­istan in fields such as polic­ing and counter-ter­ror­ism from six to 12 posi­tions for 2011.

Counter-insur­gency skills are a key focus of our Defence Coop­er­a­tion Pro­gram and Aus­tralia and Pak­istan have devel­oped a num­ber of train­ing ini­tia­tives in this area.

A par­tic­u­lar high­light is the atten­dance of Pak­istan mil­i­tary and Aus­tralian Defence Force offi­cers on each other’s counter-insur­gency mod­ules at the Aus­tralian Defence Col­lege and the Pak­istan Com­mand and Staff Col­lege in Quet­ta.

Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton acknowl­edged Pakistan’s efforts against the Pak­istan Tal­iban in its bor­der regions over the past two years. He also encour­aged Pak­istan to take fur­ther action in sup­port of the efforts of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force and our Afghan part­ners against the Afghan insur­gents who seek sanc­tu­ary in Pakistan’s bor­der areas.

The events of the past week under­line the impor­tance of Australia’s defence coop­er­a­tion pro­gram and our high-lev­el dia­logue with Pakistan’s mil­i­tary lead­er­ship. This is an essen­tial ele­ment in fos­ter­ing Pakistan’s coop­er­a­tion with the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty in com­bat­ing vio­lent mil­i­tant extrem­ism in Pak­istan and Afghanistan.

Gen­er­al Wynne’s pro­gram has now con­clud­ed.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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