Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan General Qamar Javed Bajwa received Friday, at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Michael Kurilla, discussed in Islamabad on Friday military relations and the regional security situation.
A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said “matters of mutual interest, regional security situation & stability, defense and security cooperation particularly military to military ties were discussed during the meeting.”
Meanwhile, the one-on-one call was followed by a delegation-level meeting. Pakistan Army’s counterterrorism efforts and significant contributions towards regional peace and stability were discussed. Pakistan-US military training exchange program also came under discussion.
Later, the visiting dignitary visited the Army Museum and took keen interest in various historical enclosures, reported The Express Tribune.
This was the first visit of Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Michael E Kurilla since he was given the new role in April.
This was also the first visit by any top US general to Pakistan since the then CENTCOM Chief General Kenneth McKenzie visited Islamabad in February 2021, The Express Tribune added,
Though there has been interaction between the two militaries, no American General visited Pakistan in the last 18 months, suggesting a hiccup in the bilateral relationship because of a chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The new CENTCOM Chief spoke with Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on July 30, just 48 hours before the CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.
Pakistan, however, dismissed claims that the drone flew from its soil or its airspace was used.
But a flurry of recent exchanges between the two sides, both at political and military levels, suggested that there has been a reset in the relationship, added The Express Tribune.
Pakistan and the US have longstanding defense ties, starting from the Cold War times. At one time Pakistan was dubbed as the “most allied” ally of the US. The close defense ties helped Pakistan get access to some of the advanced military hardware.
But the relationship has often been marred by mistrust as the two countries have had divergent views on certain strategic issues.
The US increasing defense and strategic ties with India has worried Pakistan. Islamabad felt that Washington’s defense deals with New Delhi would harm the country’s interests, noted The Express Tribune.
Another factor that has shaken the longstanding relationship between Pakistan and the US is Islamabad’s ever-growing ties with Beijing, something Washington views with much suspicion.