ISLAMABAD - General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) had a video conversation with Defence Minister of Japan Mr Kono Taro, Thursday, said a press statement issued by Directorate of Inter-Services Public Relations.

According to the statement, matters of mutual interest, military to military ties, defence & security cooperation and Pakistan’s commitment for COVID-19 were discussed in the teleconference. Defence Minister appreciated Pakistan’s successful fight against COVID-19 and measures taken against locust threat. The dignitary commended the role of Pakistan for regional peace and stability, especially the efforts of Pakistan Army in battling the scourge of terrorism. Both sides agreed to resume staff level talks as soon as COVID situation improves and enhance bilateral defence cooperation, especially in the fields of training, joint exercises and anti piracy measures.

Minister Kono explained the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ activities on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, activities to take measures at the airport and to prevent community spread infection, infection-preventative measures undertaken in their operation which resulted in having no deployed member infected with the virus, and analysis by the SDF Central Hospital by using a presentation document. General Bajwa also explained the recent activities and measures taken in Pakistan.

Furthermore, the two parties exchanged views on defense cooperation between Japan and Pakistan. And Minister Kono pointed out the importance of both countries’ maintaining seamless defense posture and continued and strengthened bilateral defense cooperation to uphold and reinforce the Free and Open Indo-Pacific taking into consideration the implication of COVID-19, said the statement.

“The two parties agreed on the following three points bearing in mind the circumstances arisen by the spread of COVID-19;sharing information, knowledge and lessons learned about the measures taken by the defense authorities towards overcoming COVID-19 at the earliest stage; necessity of sharing threat recognition based on the current circumstances and potential effects of the spread of COVID-19 on defense policy of each country; and promoting vigorously defense cooperation and exchanges while maintaining communication between the defense authorities,” it said.

In the end, COAS thanked the defence minister for offering assistance against locust threat.