Military training programme for Pak resumed: US

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24, 2019 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the General Debate of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 24, 2019. The General Debate of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly opened on Tuesday with the theme of “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.” (Xinhua/Li Muzi/IANS)

Islamabad, Jan 4 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has authorised the resumption of Pakistan’s participation in an American military training and educational programme in order to strengthen military-to-military cooperation on shared priorities, senior diplomat Alice Wells said on Saturday.

“The overall security assistance suspension for Pakistan remains in effect,” Dawn news reported citing a tweet by Wells, the in-charge of South Asia affairs at the US State Department, as saying.

The decision to resume Islamabad’s participation in the coveted International Military Education and Training Programme (IMET) was first announced by the State Department last month.

However, the announcement has been reiterated by Acting Assistant Secretary Wells, a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reached out to Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa in the aftermath of the assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, vowing to remain firm against Iran.

The resumption of IMET for Pakistan, more than a year after it was suspended, follows meetings last year between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan, said Dawn news.

The State Department administers the IMET. It was a small facet of US security aid programmes for Pakistan worth some $2 billion that remain suspended on orders that Trump abruptly issued in January 2018 to compel the country to crack down on militants.

IMET affords spaces to foreign military officers at US military education institutions, such as the US Army War College and the US Naval War College.

Pakistan’s suspension from the programme in August 2018 prompted the cancellation of 66 slots set aside that year for Pakistani military officers in one of the first known impacts of Trump’s decision to halt security assistance.

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