Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar has congratulated his US counterpart Chuk Hagel on assuming charge of his new office. In a felicitation letter written to Hagel, Qamar said Pakistan and the United States have been longstanding partners in the enduring struggle to defend freedom from those who believe in oppression. "We hope to continue this partnership by further strengthening our defence cooperation which has been a vital force for peace and stability in the region," he added.