WASHINGTON/Islamabad - Army Chief General Raheel Sharif told his US counterpart Gen Mark A Milley about Pakistan’s feats in the fight against terrorism.

Peace in South Asia also came under discussion during the meeting between the two big at Pentagon, where Gen Raheel was accorded warm welcome, reported a private TV.

Nawa-i-Waqt Reporter quoted sources as saying that Gen Raheel also held meetings with US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford.

During the meetings, intelligence sharing, spying, Afghanistan peace and other defence-related issues were discussed.

The Pakistani military chief reached Washington for a five-day visit that has generated much interest not only in Pakistan and the United States but also in Afghanistan and India.

Gen Sharif’s second visit to US in a year has drawn special interest because of the expectations being attached to a Pakistani role for restoring peace in Afghanistan. It comes just a month after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Washington where he met US President Barack Obama.

The army chief is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser (NSA) to US President Obama Ms Susan Rice, General Raheel’s counterpart General Mark A Milley and Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunn during his stay in Washington.

Besides bilateral military and defence matters of mutual interest, Afghanistan situation, Indian interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs and Islamabad’s own fight against terrorism are expected to figure high in the army chief’s meetings with top US military and civil officials.

The visit is taking place on the invitation of US military leadership and it would encompass military-to-military ties and review of up-and-coming regional security situation as Pakistan is fully cognizant of fast emerging new regional realities.

Exchange of the views between the military leadership of the two countries is the hallmark of the visit where overall security spectrum of bilateral concern is discussed in candid manner. The military leaders discuss important subjects like high level mutual visits, training of the personnel and joint exercises in the course of deliberations.

Army chief’s visit to the United States had been in the works since July and has been scheduled mutually by the two sides, according to Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa.

“We have a wide-ranging agenda for the meetings,” Asim Bajwa told journalists the other day. Bajwa reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to support an Afghan-led reconciliation process.

“Pakistan has always said the process should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned – we sincerely supported efforts toward that end – and we will continue that support – I think there will be definitely more discussion on this – (progress on) this issue will help improve the regional security.”

Pakistan had in July hosted the first round of peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban, but the process faltered ahead of the second round planned for July 31 when it became public that Mullah Omar was no more alive.

Sources in Islamabad said the army chief would emphasis on the US to guarantee that any resumed effort at restarting talks would not be torpedoed from the elements within the Ghani administration, which is opposed to the process.

About the Zarbe-e-Azb operation, Bajwa said, “It has led to a visible improvement in Pakistan’s security and also helped improve Afghan security across the border – we had informed the coalition and Afghan forces before the operation about the possibility of some militants crossing into Afghanistan so they should try to seal the border.”

According to diplomatic sources, Gen Raheel would also discuss with American hosts Pak-India border tensions and Indian efforts to destabilise Pakistan.

To the East, ISPR DG said, settling the Indian border issue is critical to South Asian peace and stability. Answering a question, Gen Bajwa said Pakistan’s nuclear programme was a reality.

The ISIS emerging threat to the region is also likely to be discussed in Washington meeting. Pakistan the other day said there was no footprint on its soil of the global terrorist organisation, which has already found space in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Bajwa said the COAS will then visit Brazil for three days. He will also spend a day with Pakistani soldiers in Ivory Coast UN Peace Keeping mission, added Bajwa, who is also in Washington.

Sources said the general would meet Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday (Nov 19). Meeting at this level is rare for any military chief visiting the US.

Gen Sharif will also meet with heads of key Senate and House of Representatives committee leaders on the Capitol Hill and other top Pentagon leaders including CENTCOM chief, as Pakistan and the United States look to augmenting cooperation amid changing regional situation.