Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bilateral Relations: Afghan minister, Pakistan army chief discuss defence cooperation

Source: IRNA

Islamabad, Jan 30, IRNA – The visiting Afghan Defence Minister, General Bismillah Khan Muhammadi, has held talks with Pakistan army chife, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and discussed defence cooperation, the military said.

The Afghan Defence Minister, leading a six-member high level defence delegation, arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for talks on defence cooperation, border coordination and to boost anti-terror cooperation.

On the first of official engagement the Afghan delegation visited the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad and also laid the wreath at ‘Yadgar-e-Shuhada’ or martyrs memorial, built to pay homage to those who sacrificed lives in the war on terror.

The Afghan delegation also met the army General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the two sides discussed matters of professional interest, with particular focus on enhancing mutual defence cooperation and measures that Afghan National Army and Pakistan Army intend initiating for an enduring training relationship, the army said.

A statement said that operationalization of recently concluded agreement on Tripartite Border Standing Operating Procedures was also discussed in detail.

The agreement is aimed at improving existing security cooperation and intelligence sharing mechanisms, on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.

During his five-day visit, the Afghan Defence Minster will meet top civil and military leaders, the military sources said.

The delegation will also visit various defence institutions including a visit to the National Defence University in Islamabad where the Afghan defence minister will speak to the Pakistani army officers.

Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had extended invitation to the Afghan Defence during his visit to Kabul in November last year.

Sources said that the cross-border attacks will also come under discussion as it had been a source of tension between the two countries in recent months.

The two sides are likely to discuss a roadmap that Afghanistan has already handed over to Pakistan about the future set-up after the 2014 NATO withdrawal, they said.

The defence officials are expected to discuss the proposed Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the two countries.

Pakistan had handed over a draft of the SPA to Afghan Foreign Minister when he visited Islamabad last month.