TEHRAN -  Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Tuesday met Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and visited Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Headquarters, where he interacted with senior leadership during the second day of his visit.

The Iranian defence minister thanked the COAS for his visit, acknowledged achievements of Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism and expressed his country’s willingness to enhance defence cooperation, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.

He said Iran’s policy was to develop relations with its neighbours and Pakistan had a special place in Iranian foreign policy.

The COAS highlighted that with improved special measures by Pakistan on Pak-Afghan border, terrorists were likely to exploit Pak-Iran friendly border and both countries needed to put in efforts to deny its use by them.

Both the sides agreed to ensure that their soil was not used by any third party against any of the two countries. In this regard, steps, including establishment of hotline communication between the field commanders along Pak-Iran border, fencing by Iran on their side of the border, coordinated border patrolling, intelligence sharing and more frequent interactions, were agreed to, the ISPR statement added.

“Iran sees Pakistan’s security as its own and supports Pakistan’s defence and military achievements within the framework of strengthening regional security and stability,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami said, according to an Islamic Republic News Agency report.

Talking to COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa, Hatami said: “Respect for territorial integrity, solidarity and national sovereignty of the regional countries is among the fixed principles of the Iranian foreign policies.”

Speaking with regards to regional and international developments, the Iranian defence minister said that Gen Bajwa’s visit to Iran will reinforce bilateral relations in the areas of security and stability. Hatami added that relations between Pakistan and Iran “are in line with strengthening defence capabilities of both neighbouring countries”.

The defence minister placed a lot of emphasis on furthering ties between Pakistan and Iran, stating that both countries share a common religion and culture. He expressed hope that cooperation between the two countries will lead to the establishment of peace in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Later the day, Bajwa met with Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali, where the Iranian commander announced Iran’s preparedness to share its experiences with Islamabad in defence fields.

“Having 40 years of the experience of resistance against enemies’ threats, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to transfer its defence and popular resistance experiences to Pakistan,” Jafari said, according to Fars news agency.

Warning that the regional nations and states are facing the US and the Zionist regime’s enmity, he said that certain attempts have also been made to foment insecurity in Pakistan which should be confronted by reliance on popular forces along with Armed and security forces.

PREROGATIVE OF DECLARING JIHAD RESTS ONLY WITH STATE: ISPR DG

ISPR DG and Iranian Army Gen Staff Officer addressed joint press conference at Tehran on Tuesday.

ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor thanked Iranian military and government for hospitality extended by Iran during the visit on behalf of COAS.

Gen Asif Ghafoor briefed Iranian media about Pakistan’s efforts, achievements and sacrifices in war against terror and towards regional peace. “Pakistan wishes peace in Afghanistan and supports all initiatives towards this end. We have done everything on Pakistan side of the border. There are no terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan,” the ISPR DG added.

“ISIS is growing in Afghanistan as threat to region. A regional approach is required to defeat this threat. Pakistan has taken effective measures on Pak-Afghan border,” he held.

The ISPR DG thanked Iranian supreme leader for his supportive statement on Kashmir. Kashmir is long pending dispute between India and Pakistan. Regional peace and security remains at stake unless it’s resolved to the aspiration of Kashmiris in line with UN Resolution.

Gen Ghafoor said: “Pakistan armed forces are capable to thwart any threat with support of Pakistani nation. In Pakistan, we say that prerogative of declaring Jihad rests only with state and armed forces are state instrument for its application against anti-state elements.”

Iranian spokesperson lauded Pakistani delegation for visiting Iran. He acknowledged successful visit and supportive of suggestions made by COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa. He assured that Iranian soil shall not be used against Pakistan.

At the end, Gen Asif Ghafoor said: “The Pakistani delegation leaves Iran with positive feelings and strengthening relations.”