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US – Pakistan Military Relations – Reset with IMET

Published Jan 06, 2020
Updated Mar 02, 2020

United States President Donald Trump has authorised resumption of the International Military Education and Training Program (IMET) for Pakistan in order to strengthen military to military cooperation between the two countries and advance US national security.

The announcement was made in a message on Twitter by the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US Department of State, and signed by United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells.

“To strengthen military to military cooperation on shared priorities and advance US national security, President Donald Trump authorised the resumption of International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Pakistan. The overall security assistance suspension for Pakistan remains in effect,” the State Department said.

On 4 January 2018 in a Special Briefing the US State Department had announced that the United States will not deliver military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless required by law. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis if they are determined to be critical to national security interests.

The suspension is not a permanent cutoff at this time. Security assistance funding impending deliveries will be frozen, but not canceled, as we continue to hope Pakistan will take the decisive action against terrorist and militant groups that we seek. We do not intend to reprogram any funds at this time.

The suspension includes FY16 Foreign Military Financing, as well as prior year FMF that has not yet been spent or delivered. It also includes coalition support funds for Pakistan. U.S. civilian assistance programs in Pakistan are not included in the suspension.

Pakistan military operations against these groups were done in Pakistan’s own interests, and the United States has strongly supported these efforts with billions in security aid to the Pakistani military. The United States has conveyed to Pakistan specific and concrete steps that it could take toward these ends, and we stand ready to work together with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction. We will continue these conversations with the Pakistani Government in private.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today to Pakistani Chief of Staff General Bajwa to discuss President Trump’s recent decision to take defensive action by killing Qassem Soleimani in response to imminent threats to American lives. The Secretary underscored the Iranian regime’s destabilizing actions through the region and the Trump Administration’s resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities and partners.

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program is an instrument of U.S. national security and foreign policy and a key component of U.S. security assistance that provides training and education on a grant basis to students from allied and friendly nations. In addition to improving defense capabilities, IMET facilitates the development of important professional and personal relationships, which have proven to provide U.S. access and influence in a critical sector of society that often plays a pivotal role in supporting, or transitioning to, democratic governments. IMET’s traditional purpose of promoting more professional militaries around the world through training has taken on greater importance as an effective means to strengthen military alliances and the international coalition against terrorism.

The objectives of the IMET program are to:

Further the goal of regional stability through effective, mutually beneficial military-to-military relations that culminate in increased understanding and defense cooperation between the U.S. and foreign countries.

Impart skills and knowledge that help participating countries develop new capabilities and better utilize their existing resources.
Provide training and education that augments the capabilities of participant nations’ military forces to support combined operations and interoperability with U.S., NATO and regional coalition forces.

Expose foreign military and civilian personnel to the important roles democratic values and internationally recognized human rights can play in governance and military operations.

Training and education provided under the IMET program is professional and non-political, exposing foreign students to U.S. professional military organizations and procedures and the manner in which military organizations function under civilian control. The English language proficiency requirement for many IMET-funded courses establishes an essential baseline of communication skills necessary for students to attend courses.

The IMET program exposes students to military justice systems and procedures and promotes the development of strong civil-military relations by showing key military and civilian leaders how to overcome barriers that can exist between armed forces, civilian officials and legislators. In addition, IMET has a positive effect on participants and recipient countries beyond actual training. Exposure to American values, quality instruction and the professionalism of the U.S. military play an important role in the IMET program.

Finally, military cooperation is strengthened as foreign militaries improve their knowledge of U.S. military doctrine, strategic planning processes and operational procedures. This cooperation leads to opportunities for military-to-military interaction, information sharing, joint planning and combined force exercises that facilitate interoperability with U.S., NATO, and regional coalition forces.