USA/Pakistan — U.S., Pakistan Seek to Broaden Defense Relationship

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2010 — U.S. and Pak­istani defense offi­cials wrapped up a four-day ses­sion in Pak­istan today aimed at expand­ing the two coun­tries’ defense rela­tion­ship to address cur­rent and future threats.

The Pakistan-U.S. Strate­gic Dia­logue Defense Work­ing Group, known as the Exchange on Defense Plan­ning, met at Pakistan’s Joint Staff Head­quar­ters in Rawalpin­di as part of the strate­gic dia­logue process, embassy offi­cials in Islam­abad report­ed.

The just-con­clud­ed Pak­istan ses­sion aimed to build on progress made dur­ing the U.S.-Pakistan strate­gic dia­logue meet­ings held here three months ago.

Par­tic­i­pants at the Pak­istan meet­ings reviewed cur­rent defense coop­er­a­tion arrange­ments and ways to strength­en them, offi­cials said.

David Ochmanek, deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for force devel­op­ment, and David Sed­ney, deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for Afghanistan, Pak­istan and Cen­tral Asia, led the U.S. del­e­ga­tion.

Retired Pak­istani Lt. Gen. Athar Ali, Pakistan’s defense sec­re­tary, led the Pak­istan del­e­ga­tion.

The U.S. del­e­ga­tion praised Pakistan’s efforts to address vio­lent extrem­ism and rec­og­nized the courage and extra­or­di­nary sac­ri­fices being made by Pakistan’s mil­i­tary, law enforce­ment agen­cies and the pub­lic.

The Pak­ista­nis expressed thanks for U.S. sup­port to Pakistan’s secu­ri­ty forces in fight­ing extrem­ism.

Anne Pat­ter­son, U.S. ambas­sador to Pak­istan, called the work­ing groups “an impor­tant step toward broad­en­ing and deep­en­ing the com­pre­hen­sive coop­er­a­tion and friend­ship between the U.S. and Pak­istan.”

“We look for­ward to fos­ter­ing good­will between the peo­ple of Pak­istan and the Unit­ed States and work­ing togeth­er to effec­tive­ly address Pakistan’s polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, devel­op­ment and secu­ri­ty chal­lenges,” Pat­ter­son said.

This week’s talks in Pak­istan aimed to build on the high-lev­el U.S.-Pakistan strate­gic dia­logue in March. Those dis­cus­sions focused on ways to strength­en, broad­en and deep­en ties between the two coun­tries.

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton led the U.S. del­e­ga­tion at the March meet­ings that includ­ed Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and sev­er­al oth­er U.S. cab­i­net offi­cials, as well as Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Pak­istani For­eign Min­is­ter Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi led the Pak­istani del­e­ga­tion, which also includ­ed Defense Min­is­ter Ahmed Mukhtar and the chief of staff of the army, Gen. Ash­faq Kayani.

Both coun­tries agreed at the Wash­ing­ton meet­ings to inten­si­fy and expand their dia­logue in defense, econ­o­my and trade, ener­gy, secu­ri­ty, strate­gic sta­bil­i­ty and non-pro­lif­er­a­tion, law enforce­ment and coun­tert­er­ror­ism, sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, edu­ca­tion, agri­cul­ture, water, health and com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic diplo­ma­cy, offi­cials said.

The Unit­ed States and Pak­istan also dis­cussed “how we can strength­en our rela­tion­ship, and how we can help Pak­istan in deal­ing with the secu­ri­ty chal­lenges that face them, but also face us and NATO as well,” Gates said before the March meet­ings.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)