About the Author: Rick Snelsire serves as Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
A meeting of the Pakistan-U.S. "Exchange on Defense Planning Group" was held in Rawalpindi July 21-23 as part of the Pakistan-U.S. Strategic Dialogue working group on Defense. The last meeting of the group was held in June 2010.
The two sides were led by Pakistan's Secretary of Defense, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Syed Athar Ali, and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development Mr. David Ochmanek, along with their officials.
The meeting reviewed progress made since the last EDP meeting. They also discussed the multi-year defense cooperation between the two countries, and mechanisms for prioritizing and integrating security and defense capability requirements. In addition, views were also exchanged on security cooperation issues and the upcoming Defense Consultative Group meeting scheduled to be held in Pakistan in August.
The visiting U.S. delegation praised Pakistan's efforts in addressing the threat of violent extremism and honored the courage and extraordinary sacrifices made by Pakistan's military, law enforcement agencies and public in this fight. The Pakistani side also appreciated the support that the U.S. government has provided to its security forces in the fight against extremism and terrorism.
The talks were held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere and both sides expressed their willingness to further advance security cooperation between the two countries with a view to enhancing the partnership that existed between Pakistan and the United States.