A top American general has told the country’s lawmakers that the United States needs to maintain strong military ties with Pakistan.
The statement comes ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House later this month.
“While we have suspended security assistance and paused major defense dialogues, we need to maintain strong military-to-military ties based on our shared interests,” General Mark A Milley, who has been nominated as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in response to written questions for his confirmation hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
President’s South Asia Strategy recognises Pakistan as a key partner in achieving US interests in South Asia, including developing a political settlement in Afghanistan; defeating al-Qa’ida (AQ) and ISIS-Khorasan; providing logistical access for US forces; and enhancing regional stability, he said on Thursday.
“If confirmed as Chairman, my objective would be to preserve the defense relationship between the United States and Pakistan even as we press Pakistan to take action on US requests,” he added.
Responding to another question, Milley said Pakistan has made positive contributions in support of Afghan reconciliation.
However, since the suspension of security assistance, Pakistan has also expanded its outreach to other countries, including Russia and China, to meet its security and economic assistance needs, he said.