By Robert M Gates, US Secretary of Defence
Exclusive to The News, Pakistan
Published on January 21, 2010
We are including the link to an important op-ed by US Secretary of Defense Mr. Robert M. Gates. Mr. Gates repeats the message given by Hillary Clinton, that reaches out to the Pakistani population deeply suspicious of the US motives in the present war against extremism. The message looks to repair the trust deficit that has developed over time between Pakistan and the United States, and is a welcome step for the uneven relationship between the two countries who fight the common enemy in this present war. For the full article, please follow the link at the end of the post (Editor)
Nearly 25 years ago, in 1986, I arrived in Islamabad for my first visit to Pakistan to meet with this country’s military leaders and see firsthand the training of the Afghan resistance along the border. At the time, our two countries were working together in unprecedented ways to combat a common foe. As part of this effort, our militaries went to school together; our intelligence services shared insights; and our leaders consulted each other on strategic issues. The long-standing friendship was based on a great sense of mutual commitment, purpose, and benefit.
I was still in government in the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union left the region and the US largely abandoned Afghanistan and cut off defense ties with Pakistan – a grave mistake driven by some well-intentioned but short-sighted US legislative and policy decisions.
Thankfully, times have changed. Even so, much is still made in the media of a “trust deficit” between our nations. As I meet with Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders during my visit, I will emphasize that the United States wishes to relinquish the grievances of the past – grievances held by both sides – and instead focus on the promise of the future. I will repeat President Obama’s message that the United States is fully committed to a stable, long-term, strategic partnership with a democratic Pakistan – an enduring relationship based on shared interests and mutual respect that will continue to expand and deepen in the future on many levels, from security cooperation to economic development.