The US today agreed to step up efforts to provide defence equipment needed by Pakistan to maintain security along its border with war-torn Afghanistan and to continue discussions on the provision of military aid to Islamabad.
The decisions were made during the two-day meeting of the US-Pakistan Defence Consultative Group, which concluded in the Defence Ministry in Rawalpindi today.
This was the first meeting of the DCG since May 2011,when ties between the two sides were hit by the unilateral
American military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
A joint statement issued after the talks said:
"Recognising the enduring security requirements on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the two delegations agreed to cooperate on a prioritised set of Pakistan’s defence requirements which will inform follow-on consultations on security assistance."
Pakistan has projected a requirement for military hardware needed for ongoing anti-terrorism operations along
the Afghan border.
Another meeting of officials from both sides is expected to be held early next year in the US to discuss the supply of the equipment, official sources told PTI.
The joint statement further said: "The US and Pakistan also discussed the importance of the Coalition Support Fund
and Security Assistance Programs, and agreed to continued consultations on the way forward."
The US had held up military aid to Pakistan, including payments from the Coalition Support Fund to reimburse
Islamabad for its expenses on the war against terror, after bilateral ties plunged to an all-time low last year.
The Pakistani delegation at the meeting of the DCG was led by Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retired) Asif Yasin Malik
while the US side was headed by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James N Miller.
"Both delegations welcomed the resumption of bilateral security cooperation and agreed that relations between the two countries should be based on the principles of strategic desirability, political sustainability, trust, and mutual respect," the joint statement said.
The two sides further "acknowledged that bilateral counterterrorism cooperation has been critical to weakening
violent extremists and underscores the importance of continuing cooperation to complete the defeat of Al Qaeda and
its affiliates in the region".
They also "affirmed their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship which they stressed should focus on
achieving common objectives".