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July 13, 2019

US general wants strong military-to-military ties with Pakistan

Top Story

July 13, 2019

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump's selection to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said that the US needs to maintain strong military-to-military ties with Pakistan due to shared interests of the two countries.

During a nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Mark Milley maintained that his objective would be to preserve the defence relationship between the United States and Pakistan even as "we press Pakistan to take action on US requests."

He told the lawmakers that, "while we have suspended security assistance and paused major defence dialogues, we need to maintain strong military-to-military ties based on our shared interests."

The President's South Asia Strategy recognizes Pakistan as a key partner in achieving US interests in South Asia, including developing a political settlement in Afghanistan; defeating al-Qaeda (AQ) and ISIS-Khorasan; providing logistical access for US forces; and enhancing regional stability, he said in his written answers to the Committee adding that the US relationship with Pakistan is part of a broader South Asia strategy with the State Department in lead and Department of Defence in support.

Pakistan has made positive contributions in support of Afghan Reconciliation; General Milley said adding "However, since the suspension of security assistance, Pakistan has also expanded its outreach to other countries, including Russia and China, to meet its security and economic assistance needs."

The statement comes ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan's meeting with President Donald Trump later this month. Imran Khan will be in the US for three days along with his cabinet members as well as top military leadership.

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