Pakistan, South Africa sign MoU to cooperate in defence

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  • Khawaja Asif, Mapisa Nqakula sign memorandum in Islamabad

Pakistan and South Africa on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the defence and defence production sectors.

The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of Defence where Pakistan side was represented by Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, and South African side by Minister for Defence and Defence Industry Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula.

According to the agreement, a joint committee has been formed which will pave the way for strengthening and diversifying through formal structures, collaborative programmes, exchange of information and training of officers and soldiers of the armed forces.

Acquisition of defence equipment as well as cooperation in research and development (R&D), transfer of technology, co-production or joint ventures in public as well as private sectors, also fall within the domain of the memorandum.

The cooperation will help open new vistas in both the defence and defence production sectors, said Asif while interacting with the media on the occasion. His South African counterpart said that her country gave high importance to Pakistan in diplomatic relations.

She said that the image of Pakistan portrayed abroad was totally different. “Islamabad is a peaceful place – I am amazed that there is no disturbance as was portrayed earlier.” She said that Pakistan was a disciplined country but its image was tarnished.

On the invitation extended by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, South African minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula accompanied by a high-level delegation is visiting Pakistan from March 26-29. During the visit, both the countries signed MoU on defence and defence industrial cooperation.

Being the first ever visit, the visiting dignitary called on minister for defence and the minister for defence production, wherein issues of bilateral interest were discussed. On Monday, Mapisa Nqakula called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army.

During the meeting, views were exchanged on issues of mutual interest, including defence and security cooperation, between the two countries and overall regional security situation. The visiting minister expressed her appreciation for Pakistan Army’s successes in elimination of terrorism from Pakistan.

Upon her arrival at the GHQ, the foreign dignitary was presented the guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of the Pakistan Army. Mapisa Nqakula also laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada.