Australien/Pakistan — Meeting with Pakistan’s President and Defence Minister

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.

Media con­tacts:
Michael Nguyen (John Faulkn­er): 02 6277 7800 or 0429 571 843
Defence Media Liai­son: 02 6127 1999 or 0408

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