The 22nd meeting of the U.S.-Pakistan Defense Consultative Group (DCG), a working group under the strategic dialogue framework, was held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 21-22, 2013. The two sides were led, respectively, by U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James N. Miller and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Asif Yasin Malik, Pakistan's secretary of defense. The DCG is the primary forum for exchanging views and coordinating defense policy with the goal of strengthening defense cooperation to support each country's security interests. The DCG last met in December 2012 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Affirming their mutual commitment to a strong defense relationship, the delegations agreed that the U.S.-Pakistan defense partnership is vital to regional and international security and that it should continue to endure and grow in the years ahead. Both delegations welcomed continued efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation based on mutual interests and trust. Both delegations acknowledged that bilateral counterterrorism cooperation has been critical to weakening violent extremists and agreed that it will continue after 2014.
During the plenary session, DCG participants shared their respective assessments of the bilateral relationship and discussed strategic priorities in areas of mutual strategic interest, including counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and maritime security, agreeing to enhance partnership in these areas and broaden cooperation to other areas that serve our mutual interests.
The Pakistan delegation provided an update on its military campaign along the Pakistan- Afghanistan border, and the U.S. delegation briefed on International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) activities in Afghanistan, including the 2013 transition of lead for security to the Afghan National Security Forces. The United States recognized Pakistan's success in its counter-terrorism campaign this year, as well as Pakistan's broader efforts to achieve internal security.
Both sides reviewed the challenges to regional security, emphasizing the importance of regional peace and stability, especially following the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan. Recognizing the mutual desirability of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, the U.S. delegation thanked Pakistan for its support for promoting reconciliation and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continued engagement in the region. The delegations underscored the critical significance of cross-border cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to achieve shared objectives. Both delegations expressed satisfaction on the lines of communication (LOCs) and the U.S. delegation noted Pakistan's positive efforts to counter threats from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). To bolster this cooperation both sides agreed to continue working together to build counter-IED capacity.
The delegation reaffirmed that the DCG remains an invaluable forum to discuss strategic defense policy issues and exchange views on shared security concerns, and committed to continue working together to implement a framework for defense cooperation based on areas of convergence between U.S. and Pakistani interests.