WASHINGTON - Pakistan and the United States Wednesday welcomed the “continued positive trajectory” of their relationship and underscored the “significance of the Pak Army’s ongoing North Waziristan operation, which the US side affirmed has disrupted militants.”

A joint statement issued after a 2-day meeting of the US-Pakistan Defence Consultative Group (DCG), a working group under the Strategic Dialogue framework, said both sides reaffirmed their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship, which they stressed should focus on achieving common objectives.

The two sides were led, respectively, by Lt. Gen. (Retired) Alam Khattak, Pakistan’s Secretary Defence, and Ms. Christine Wormuth, the US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy. The DCG is the primary forum for exchanging views and coordinating defence policy with the goal of strengthening cooperation to support both countries’ security interests. The DCG last met in November 2013 in Washington.

The joint statement said, “Both delegations welcomed the continued positive trajectory of the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship and agreed that bilateral cooperation is essential to promoting regional peace and stability and defeating al-Qaeda and other terrorist elements in the region. Both sides reaffirmed their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship, which they stressed should focus on achieving common objectives.

“During the plenary session, DCG participants shared their respective assessments of the bilateral relationship and discussed each country’s strategic priorities, and agreed on areas for future defence cooperation.”

The Pakistani delegation provided an update on its military campaign along its border with Afghanistan. The US briefed on the security transition in Afghanistan, including plans for US forces to help train, advise, and assist Afghan national security forces over the next year. Both sides expressed appreciation for the efforts by their respective militaries to improve operational coordination, and deep appreciation for the sacrifices of all military personnel and civilians in the common fight against all forms of violent extremism.

Both sides reviewed the challenges facing regional security, and shared their views regarding the importance of regional peace and stability. Recognising the enduring security requirements on both sides of the Pakistan Afghanistan border, the two delegations agreed to continue providing Pakistan’s counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency requirements which will inform the provision of security assistance.

The United States and Pakistan also discussed the importance of a mechanism to reimburse Pakistan for operational expenses after Coalition Support Funds expire at the end of fiscal year 2015.

“The delegations reaffirmed that the DCG remains an invaluable forum to discuss strategic defence policy issues and exchange views on shared security concerns, they committed to continue working together to implement a framework for defence cooperation based on areas of convergence between US and Pakistani interests.”