Thursday, June 10, 2010

US to Double Training Aid for Pakistan Army

The US Thursday announced it would double its training aid for the Pakistani Army and assured that all the defence and military needs of the country's armed forces would be met.

"We would double the money we are providing for training the army. Pakistan-US armed forces exercises have been conducted several times and they would be held in future as well," US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia) David Samuel Sedney told journalists at the US embassy here after the four-day meeting of the defence working group, Online news agency reported.

The working group, known as Exchange and Defence Planning, was the first sectoral working group within the framework of the strategic dialogue, since the ministerial level US-Pakistan meeting in Washington in March. Pakistani Defence Secretary Lt. Gen. (retd) Athar Ali led his country's side.

The US side was led by Sedney and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence (Force Development) David Ochmanek. Assisted by officers from various departments and ministries, both sides discussed and reviewed cooperation in defence relations and the mutual challenges they faced. They also reviewed the mechanisms for prioritising and integrating security and defence capability requirements.

"We want strong, durable ties with the Pakistani Army," Sedney said, adding the Pakistani Army had apprised them of its needs and priorities and the US would consider them. In mid-July, another working group session would take place and in August, a Pakistani-US defence consultation group meeting would be held in which final shape would be given to the implementation of Pakistan's defence needs, Sedney added.

"We are fully cognizant of what Pakistan is doing for the region and that is why we want durable relations with the Pakistani forces, who are truly professional, to enhance their capacity. The provision of latest technology weapons is a step in this direction," he said. He, however, avoided answering a question on the shopping list and priorities of the Pakistani Army, saying it was better equipped to answer such a question.

"However we would consider their needs and decide a formula for its implementation. We will fulfil our promises." To a question on a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan on the lines of India, he said this did not come under the defence working group's domain.Source

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