US Defence Secretary James Mattis is due to arrive in Pakistan on Monday (today) 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 cooperation on shared interests,” the US secretary said while reinforcing President Trump’s call for action against alleged safe havens.
Soon after the new South Asia strategy was announced in August this year, Pakistan expressed its reservations to some of the policy decisions made in the strategy and totally rejected the misperception of not taking action against all terrorist groups.
Secretary Mattis said Pakistani leaders have said that they do not support “havens” for any terrorists, adding that Islamabad has suffered significant casualties — both civilian and military.
Responding to a question, he said 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 collaborative areas right now, still in effect. However, there have been some areas that we have lost over the years because 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.