WASHINGTON - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Pentagon late Thursday at the invitation of US Defence secretary Ashton Carter and discussed with him bilateral defence relations and the regional security situation.
On arrival, the prime minister was received by the defence secretary, as “Honor Cordon” was in place to lead him to the Pentagon. National anthems of Pakistan and the US were played, a statement issued by Pakistan Embassy said. During the meeting, the prime minister expressed satisfaction that bilateral defence cooperation had continued to grow over the past two years.
In particular, he noted successful cooperation in areas such as smooth movement of US retrograde cargo through GLOCs, facilitation through Air Lines of Communication, maritime security and Counter IEDs cooperation. The prime minister also appreciated the role of Pakistan-US security cooperation in bolstering Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capacity.
In his remarks, Defence Secretary Ashton expressed appreciation of the progress achieved by Pakistan in degrading terrorist networks. Recognising the tremendous sacrifices made by Pakistan’s military, law enforcement personnel and civilians, Defense Secretary Carter noted that Pakistan has been at the forefront of fighting terrorism.
He lauded the government’s efforts to achieve a national political consensus on fighting terrorism. During the meeting, both sides also discussed matters related to regional peace and security including Pakistan’s outreach to Afghanistan and facilitation extended through efforts for reconciliation.
The prime minister was accompanied by Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Ishaq Dar, Minister for Interior Affairs Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif, Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
US defence secretary was joined by the National Security Adviser Ambassador Susan Rice, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and former US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson. Senior officials of the US Department of Defence were also present.