The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, yesterday met with Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari, and the Minister of Defence, Chaudry Ahmad Mukhtar, in Islamabad.
Senator Faulkner also held meetings with senior Pakistan Armed Forces leaders including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Tariq Majid.
This was the first visit to Islamabad by an Australian Defence Minister for more than a decade and highlights the growing defence cooperation between the two countries.
Senator Faulkner discussed Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism in the country and the successes of recent military campaigns against violent extremism.
Senator Faulkner expressed his condolences to President Zardari on behalf of the Australian Government for the losses that the Pakistan Armed Forces have suffered in its current operations.
“Australia stands by Pakistan in this fight. We will continue to work with Pakistan to tailor our cooperation to best achieve positive results and to strengthen our long-term partnership,” Senator Faulkner said.
Senator Faulkner thanked Minister Mukhtar for his support for the increased defence cooperation between Australia and Pakistan.
Senator Faulkner also welcomed the opportunity to sign the Australia-Pakistan Defence Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding.
“The Memorandum of Understanding is a useful framework to continue enhanced defence cooperation between our two nations,” Senator Faulkner said.
Future defence cooperation will include visits by Australian military officials, aircraft and ships, further counter-insurgency training initiatives for both Australian and Pakstani forces and increased participation in military training and education courses.
Six student instructors from the Australian Command and Staff College recently attended the counter insurgency module at Pakistan Army’s Command and Staff College in Quetta.
“Australian based training positions for Pakistani officers will be increased to over 140 next year, in addition to the doubling of postgraduate scholarships to 12. The quality of the Pakistani officers training in Australia has been consistently high,” Senator Faulkner said.
Senator Faulkner also welcomed the increase in the number of ADF officers attending training courses in Pakistan, including on courses such as desert and mountain warfare.
“Australia wishes to build an enduring relationship with Pakistan that is sustainable in the long term and mutually beneficial for both countries,” Senator Faulkner said.
Michael Nguyen (John Faulkner): 02 6277 7800 or 0429 571 843
Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408
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