About the Author: Rick Snelsire serves as Spokesperson at U.S. Embassy Islamabad.
Pakistani and U.S. defense officials met from June 7-10 at Pakistan's Joint Staff Headquarters in Rawalpindi to discuss issues of common interest under the rubric of the strategic dialogue process. The defense working group, known as an Exchange on Defense Planning, was the first sectoral working group within the framework of the strategic dialogue since the Ministerial level U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue meeting held in Washington, DC, in March this year.
The Pakistan side was led by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Athar Ali, Pakistan's Secretary of Defense, and the U.S. side was co-chaired by Mr. David Ochmanek, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development; and Mr. David Sedney, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. Both sides were assisted by officers from relevant departments and ministries.
Both sides discussed and reviewed cooperation in Defense relations, focused on the mutual challenges associated with multi-year cooperation between Pakistan and the United States, and reviewed mechanisms for prioritizing and integrating security and defense capability requirements. They also exchanged views on security cooperation and areas of potential future cooperation between the two sides.
The U.S. delegation praised Pakistan's efforts in addressing the threat of violent extremism and recognized the courage and extraordinary sacrifices made by Pakistan's military, law enforcement agencies and the public in the fight against violent extremism. The Pakistani side also expressed appreciation for the U.S. support and assistance provided to Pakistan's security forces in the fight against extremism.
The talks were held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, and both parties agreed to meet again in a follow-on exchange of defense planning.