Thursday, December 8, 2022

Pakistan Army chief General Bajwa meets U.S. Defence Secretary, NSA

The Army chief thanked the U.S. officials for their support for the rescue and rehabilitation of flood victims in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has called on U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, National Security Adviser Jacob Sullivan and other top officials and discussed matters of mutual interest, regional security and bilateral cooperation in various fields.

Mr. Bajwa’s visit to the United States comes weeks before he is expected to retire after an extended six-year tenure.

“This long-standing partnership continues today with discussions focused on opportunities to address key mutual defence interests,” the Pentagon said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr. Austin hosted General Bajwa at the Pentagon during the 75th anniversary of relations between the United States and Pakistan, said the statement.

During the meeting on Tuesday, the leaders discussed matters of mutual interest, regional security and bilateral cooperation in various fields, the Dawn newspaper said.

Mr. Bajwa also met Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

The Army chief thanked the U.S. officials for their support and reiterated that assistance from “our global partners would be vital for the rescue and rehabilitation of flood victims in Pakistan,” it quoted a Pakistani military statement as saying.

The floods have killed over 1,600 people and displaced more than 33 million others in Pakistan.

This aerial view shows a flooded residential area in Dera Allah Yar town after heavy monsoon rains in Jaffarabad district, Balochistan province on August 30, 2022. – Aid efforts ramped up across flooded Pakistan on August 30 to help tens of millions of people affected by relentless monsoon rains that have submerged a third of the country and claimed more than 1,100 lives. (Photo by Fida HUSSAIN / AFP)

The floods have left a third of the country submerged under water and caused estimated damage of nearly $30 billion.

Both sides noted that Pakistan and the U.S. had a long history of bilateral cooperation and that both countries shall continue improving their economic, trade and investment ties.

His visit to the U.S. comes days after Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s trip to the country.

During his visit, Mr. Bilawal met top officials of the Biden Administration, including Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

America’s engagement with Pakistan, in particular with its military, has increased in recent months. Last month, the U.S. announced a $450 million F-16 fighter jet sustenance package for Pakistan

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