Pakistan is expected to receive maritime surveillance P3C Orion aircraft from the United States this year in an indication of strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries.
Islamabad’s ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman, who has been meeting with top American officials as part of efforts to restore the full range of bilateral ties, says both the civil and defense cooperation between the two sides is gaining momentum.
At a meeting with visiting Vice Chief the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Shafique, Ambassador Rehman discussed matters related to ongoing cooperation between Pakistani and American navies and expressed satisfaction over senior level exchanges such as the visit of Vice Admiral Shafique.
Such interactions, she noted, are important to pushing forward Pakistan-US bilateral defense ties and said the Pakistan Navy’s key role in securing sea lanes in North Arabian Sea as part of the anti-piracy international coalition has been widely appreciated in the United States.
As a result of some hectic diplomacy, Washington and Islamabad have come out of a difficult phase in bilateral ties since early 2011, following a series of high-level meetings and trust-building measures. In Washington, Ambassador Sherry Rehman and her team of diplomats have been working with senior State Department, Pentagon and National Security officials to put the cooperative ties back on track.
The U.S. recently released long-delayed CSF reimbursements and both countries have resumed working on different levels of cooperation through regular forums of institutionalized dialogues and working groups.
The vice admiral briefed the Ambassador about contributions made by Pakistan Navy towards multilateral efforts for strengthening maritime security and counter piracy operations. He also thanked Ambassador Rehman for her leadership in reinvigorating Pakistan-US defense partnership.
The vice admiral appreciated the Ambassador Rehman’s efforts towards resetting Pakistan-US relations after the impasse in 2011-12 and also for diligently pursuing all of Pakistan’s concerns including the Navy’s interests. He expressed the hope for early departure of P3C maritime aircraft from the United States. He hoped that with the ambassador’s leadership qualities, the cooperation will continue in the same spirit and level it has reached now.
January 27, 2013