Islamabad Confessing that the US had committed grave strategic mistakes in the past by cutting its military ties with Pakistan, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates Friday said his country is fully committed to Pakistans future. The United States has no desire to control Pakistans nuclear weapons or covet a single inch of its soil or seek military bases in Pakistan, Gates said while delivering a talk to Pakistani military officers here at the National Defence University. I fully understand why some of you may be sceptical about the US commitment to Pakistan, Gates said in reference to his countrys cutting of military ties with Pakistan over its nuclear programme in the 1990s, that led to undermining a bond between the armed forces of the two countries and created a lingering trust deficit. He recalled that he was in government in the early 1990s when Russia left the region and the United States largely abandoned Afghanistan and cut off defence ties with Pakistan - a grave strategic mistake driven by some well-intentioned but short-sighted US legislative and policy decisions. Gates, a former CIA director who specialises in Russian studies and had served under several presidents, said the move had tainted the perception of the United States in Pakistan as a result of an organised propaganda campaign from extremists. However, he vowed that the US was prepared to invest whatever time and energy it takes to forge and sustain a genuine, lasting partnership with Pakistan. He said rebuilding relationships with a new generation of Pakistani officers who have had little contact with the US military would take years. It will be work of years requiring openness, transparency, and above all, continuous engagement on both sides. Gates said the armed forces of the two countries were already making headways in some areas in line with a guiding principle to respect Pakistans sovereignty and do whatever possible to protect the Pakistani nation from threats of violent extremist groups. US Secretary of Defence said his country wants to develop a broader strategic dialogue with Pakistan on other vital issues including the link between Afghanistan and Pakistan stability and political solutions to the insurgency in Afghanistan, Pakistans relationship with India, threat of regional extremism; and the challenge posed by anti-government militants in Pakistan. He was of the view that fighting terrorists along the Afghan border was in the interest of the two countries, saying only by pressuring the violent extremists groups on both sides of the border will Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to rid themselves of this scourge - to destroy those who promote the use of terror here and abroad. We have enemies in common along the border, but we also have many other interests in common, Gates said, adding the Pakistani military has had to adapt and will have to do so even more in the years to come. Earlier, in his press talk with a select group of US and Pakistani media persons at the residence of US Ambassador Anne W Patterson, Gates said that his country would provide Pakistan with a dozen of Shadow aerial drones. There are some tactical UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that we are considering to secure for Pakistan, he said. The Shadow drones, smaller than the armed Predator and Reaper aircraft, are about 11 feet (three metres) long and have a wingspan of 14-feet, with sensors and cameras feeding video images back to operators on the ground.