ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Australia have underlined the need to develop strategic relationship and expand the existing ties in the areas of trade, economy and defence. This was discussed at a meeting between Minister for Defence, Chaudary Ahmad Mukhtar, and the visiting Australian Chief of Defence Forces, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who called on the Minister on Wednesday. The meeting discussed the security situation of the region with focus on war on terror. The Minister highlighted the counter-terrorism measures taken by Pakistan.
He conveyed to the Australian Chief of Defence Forces that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used as launching paid by the extremists and terrorists elements. He informed the visiting dignitary that Pakistan had adopted a three-pronged strategy based on negotiations, economic development and the use of force to stem the tide of terrorism.
He said that terrorism posed a greater challenge to the world peace and stability and its elimination was only possible by addressing its real causes like poverty, ignorance and sense of deprivation. He said that the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) needed the development of economic infrastructure so as to generate economic and employment opportunities in the area.
The Australian Chief of Defence Forces Mr. Angus Houston, said that his country was very keen to promote a strategic relationship with Pakistan for the mutual benefits of the two sides. He told the Minister that his country wanted to work together with Pakistan to stamp out terrorism. He said the role of Pakistan was very crucial in eliminating the menace of terrorism. He held out an assurance to assist Pakistan in combating and defeating terrorism. He also lauded the key role played by Pakistan against the war on terror.-SANA