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Pakistani Army Chief Vows Closer Cooperation With Iran

Iranian President President Hassan Rouhani (R) met Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Tehran on November 6.

Pakistan’s top soldier has called the Iran-Pakistan border the “border of peace and friendship” after visiting Iran, vowing closer cooperation with Tehran to ensure security in the region.

The Pakistan military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), announced on October 7 that the leaders of both countries agreed to stay engaged for enhanced bilateral cooperation.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa returned to Islamabad on October 7 after a three-day visit to Tehran where he met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, Defense Minister Amir Hatami, and other senior military officials.

According to the ISPR, the Iranian defense minister thanked Bajwa for his visit to Tehran, and he expressed his country’s willingness to enhance defense cooperation with Pakistan.

The two sides agreed they would not let anyone use their territories to attack either country. For this purpose, the ISPR added, the two sides will step up measures including setting up a hotline for communication between field commanders along the border, coordinate border patrolling, intelligence sharing, and more frequent consultations.

Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province shares a 900-kilometer border with Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan. The two regions are plagued by insurgencies and violence; Islamabad says it has been fighting a Baloch separatist insurgency for more than a decade while Iranian forces have endured sporadic attacks by shadowy Sunni extremist groups claiming to be fighting Tehran’s Shi'ite clerical regime.

In the past, Tehran has accused Islamabad of supporting the Baloch Sunni rebels and claimed they operate from Pakistani territory.