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General

Iran, Pakistan agree to hold a joint naval exercise: Gen Bagheri

Islamabad, IRNA -- Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Major General Mohammad Bagheri expressing confidence in the outcome of his official visit to Pakistan says both countries have agreed to hold a joint naval exercise in future.

General Bagheri during an exclusive interview with IRNA at the end of his second official visit to the country said Pakistan being an important Muslim neighbor has a special place for the people of Iran, especially for the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the Iranian Armed Forces.

He added that in the recent meetings "we have agreed on the need to provide better security for the common borders", and fortunately, in recent years, significant efforts have been taken by both neighbors to set up border fences and curbing human and drug trafficking.

"Today, fortunately, the common border between the two countries is much safer than in the past and is becoming one of the ideal borders of Iran," he said.

**Iran's membership in SCO paves way for strengthening ties with other members

Expressing his views, General Bagheri said during the meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who was also attended by the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, we were able to share our views on many bilateral issues, regional developments, including Afghanistan.

Referring to the desire of the Islamic Republic of Iran to expand relations with its neighbors, the head of Iran's high-level military delegation said Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will definitely strengthen Iran's relations with Pakistan and other SCO member-states.

**Complete security on common borders

Referring to his meetings with senior Pakistani political-military officials and the conclusion of consultations and agreements, General Bagheri said today "we have simultaneous patrolling on both sides of the border and joint bases in the Mirjavah border area making the border more safe and secure".

He added coordination between Iran and Pakistan will take place immediately in case of any incident on the border, and fortunately our common borders are moving towards full security, which was one of the important areas of our discussion with our Pakistani counterparts.

In response to an IRNA reporter's question, the Chief of General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces stated one of the other issues that is extremely important these days is Afghanistan, which has been affected by the irresponsible withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan.

General Bagheri said Afghanistan's economic issues, the influx of refugees and insecurity, and the serious problems that the terrorist group Daesh, affect both Iran and Pakistan.

He said Afghanistan was discussed in detail with the military and political officials of Pakistan and it was emphasized that a stable government should be formed with the participation of all in Afghan groups.

The Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Iran noted fortunately, there was a complete consensus between the military and political officials of Pakistan and Iran in this regard.

**Deepen military relations and holding of naval exercises

General Bagheri called the military cooperation between Iran and Pakistan the third issue that the Iranian delegation pursued during this trip and added we have had educational cooperation with each other in the past and the navies of the two countries regularly visit each other's ports.

He added in this trip, constructive agreements were reached, including that in the future we will hold joint naval exercises in the waters of Pakistan and Iran.

He said military cooperation between the two armed forces is at a good level and currently Iranian pilots are being trained in Pakistan, and counter-terrorism training is being held in Iran.

General Bagheri, who had visited some of Pakistan's defense and military installations added: during the visit to Pakistan's military industries it was agreed to exchange experiences in aircraft and tanks areas.

**Improving intelligence cooperation to combat terrorism

In an interview with IRNA, the Chief of General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said there is good cooperation between Iran and Pakistan so far in terms of intelligence relations, intelligence training, and information exchange.

He noted that a mechanism has been set up to develop intelligence relations, stating that this cooperation has been deepened at the movement which would have a major impact on counterterrorism efforts on both sides of the border.

**Gen Bagheri appreciates Pakistan’s hospitality and warm attitude

The Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran said: What I can say in summarizing this trip was the dear host Pakistan's treatment with Iranian guests was very warm and cordial and we appreciate that.

General Bagheri stated during the meeting and consultations, it became clear that we shared common views almost on all issues and have no differences.

The four-day trip of Major General Mohammad Bagheri and members of the accompanying delegation to the cities of Islamabad, Karachi of Pakistan ended on Friday.

Members of the high-ranking Iranian military delegation also visited the tomb of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

General Mohammad Bagheri's second visit to Pakistan is considered very important in recent years due to the growing trend of defense, security, and military relations between the two neighboring countries and the brother.

The visit expresses the strong and joint will of the Iranian and Pakistani military officials to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, contributing to regional stability, including a common vision for peace in Afghanistan, consulting on Islamic world issues, a joint determination to fight terrorism, and counter-terrorism.

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, paid two official visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran in November 2017 and November 2019, respectively, and met with Iranian political and military officials.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA


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