WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (APP):US Defence Secretary James Mattis is due in Pakistan on Monday for his first visit since taking over the
charge of the Pentagon, a visit he said he would use to look for “common grounds” between the two countries and discussion on President Trump’s new regional strategy.
“We’ll discuss the South Asia strategy,” the Secretary told reporters, saying that he had already visited India
and Afghanistan and it was a continued dialogue that the United States had for the Afghan peace process.
“The US remains committed to a pragmatic relationship that expands — again, expands cooperation on shared interests” while reinforcing President Trump’s call for action against alleged safe havens, the Secretary said.
Soon after the new South Asia strategy was announced in August this year, Pakistan expressed its strong reservations to some of the policy decisions made in the strategy and totally rejected the misperception of not taking action against all terrorist groups.
Pakistan has achieved unprecedented successes made against terrorists through sustained operations, especially in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan that has forced the terrorists to flee and take
refuge in Afghanistan from where they continue to plot actions against Pakistan.
Secretary Mattis said that Pakistani leaders have said that they do not support “havens” for any terrorists,
adding that Islamabad has taken significant casualties — both innocent people and their army — significant casualties from them.
Responding to a question, he said that Pakistan was taking action in its own best interests but “what we’re looking for is to broaden the common ground.”
“We’re looking to make common cause with them. There’s plenty of — of collaborative areas, right now, still in effect. There’s been some areas that have — we have lost over the years, because of — of disagreements about what we need to do,” the Secretary said.
Secretary Mattis began his visit on Friday on the first leg, visiting Egypt on Saturday. He was due to travel to Jordan on Sunday, before traveling to Pakistan.