Gen Mark Milley, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called for the need for United States to maintain strong military-to-military ties with Pakistan, based on the shared mutual interests.
The statement comes ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House later this month.
“While we have suspended security assistance and paused major defense dialogues, we need to maintain strong military-to-military ties based on our shared interests,” General Mark A Milley said in response to written questions for his confirmation hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“If confirmed as Chairman, my objective would be to preserve the defense relationship between the United States and Pakistan even as we press Pakistan to take action on US requests,” he added.
Responding to another question, Milley said Pakistan has made positive contributions in support of Afghan reconciliation.
He also warned at his nomination hearing that a premature withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would be a strategic mistake.
“I think pulling out prematurely would be a strategic mistake,” the general added while responding to a question about Afghanistan from one of the senators.
President Trump’s South Asia Strategy recognises Pakistan as a key partner in achieving US interests in South Asia, including developing a political settlement in Afghanistan, defeating al-Qaeda and Islamic State Khorasan Province, providing logistical support to US forces, and enhancing regional stability, the General said to a question.
Gen Milley, currently the Army’s Chief of Staff, has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Colombia and is likely to be confirmed without any opposition from either Republican or Democratic lawmakers. In Afghanistan, he served as the Commanding General, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commanding General, US Forces.