Pakistan, UK vow to expand defence, economic ties LONDON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his British counterpart David Cameron reaffirmed on Wednesday strong bonds of friendship and partnership between the two countries and vowed to expand cooperation in economy, health, education, defence and security matters. A joint statement issued after a meeting between the two leaders said they discussed how to further the trade and investment links between Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The two sides renewed their commitment to increase bilateral trade to three billion pounds within a year. A revised trade and investment roadmap sets out new cooperation between the two countries, including four new Trade Champions, to further the business agenda. On specific new initiatives, a UK company, Asian Precious Minerals, has announced a new project with over 100 million pounds of investment in Pakistan. Britain also supports the growing dialogue between investors, highlighted by a roundtable meeting with Prime Minister Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar which was hosted by Peter Sands, Global CEO of Standard Chartered Bank. Mr Sharif was also the guest of honour at a trade and investment conference attended by over 100 delegates. The joint statement said the UK welcomed signs of growth in Pakistanâ€™s economy as a result of achieving GSP+ trading agreement status with the EU: GSP+ status is dependent on a number of measures, including human rights conditions, which are monitored by scorecard. The UK will provide Pakistan with further advice and support on effective monitoring. On economics and development, Pakistan and the UK welcomed indicators of an upturn in economic activity and agreed on the importance of improved conditions in Pakistan to foster economic stability, inclusive growth and prosperity. The two sides agreed to work together to support the government of Pakistanâ€™s implementation of critical economic reforms, particularly to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio to 15 per cent and welcomed the developing relationship between the Federal Board of Revenue and Britainâ€™s Revenue and Customs to support this. Pakistan and the UK welcomed the launch of Britainâ€™s support to help improve the business environment and increase domestic and international investment in small and growing businesses in Pakistan. It aims to create up to 400m pounds in additional economic production and generate up to 400,000 jobs, half of which will be for women and young people. The two countries agreed on the importance of effective regional cooperation for stability and growth. They decided to work to improve Pakistanâ€™s trade competitiveness, particularly in reducing barriers between Pakistan and its neighbours. They agreed to exchange expertise and business dialogue on energy. The two sides welcomed the launch of the government of Punjabâ€™s new approach to delivering health reforms, supported by the Department for International Development, which aims to improve basic primary healthcare provision across the province, including increasing immunisation coverage and reducing maternal and child deaths. In the field of security and defence, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held discussions with UK ministers about security and stability in Pakistan and the wider South Asia region. The two countries acknowledged the importance of supporting the new Afghan government and developing closer cooperation with the next government in India. They reaffirmed their commitment to working in partnership to counter shared threats from terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration and to support Pakistanâ€™s new National Internal Security Policy. The two sides agreed to continue counter-terrorism training and support, including aviation security, exploring building on the existing counter-IED programme, and increasing security cooperation at customs. They underscored their commitment to support the UK-Pakistan relationship by agreeing to open a new British deputy high commission in Lahore. The visit marked the launch of a UK-Pakistan cultural and education cooperation â€˜roadmapâ€™ which sets out the basis for cultural engagement between the two countries, enables collaboration on a calendar of cultural engagement for the next three years, and builds on elements of the strong existing bilateral relationship on education. The UK welcomed the priority Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifâ€™s government has given to education, including the recent commitment to increase education expenditure to 4pc of GDP. During the meeting, Prime Minister Sharif reiterated that Pakistan was fully committed to eliminating the menace of terrorism from its soil and would never allow use of its territory against any country, including Afghanistan. The prime minister discussed with him matters of bilateral interest, situation in the region and importan international issues. Mr Sharif said he was here to reciprocate the sentiments expressed by Mr Cameron for Pakistan during his visit to Islamabad last year. He said Pakistan had suffered a lot due to the menace of terrorism and extremism and was determined to tackling it, which was also a part of its recently formulated national policy. He appreciated the continued support and assistance by the DFID UK and said the people of Pakistan were grateful for such support for development. Mr Cameron warmly welcomed Mr Sharif and reiterated the United Kingdomâ€™s all-out support for Pakistan in its pursuit for strengthening economy and achieving socio-economic development. He backed the Pakistan governmentâ€™s efforts for combating terrorism and extremism. The two sides also discussed the current level of bilateral ties in various areas, including trade and economy, and renewed their commitment to further strengthen these relations. Pakistan, UK vow to expand defence, economic ties - Pakistan - DAWN.COM ************************************************************************************ The headline talks about defence ties, but the text carry nothing on it! Of course, Pakistan requires a serious infusion of money and UK must build the infrastructure for their practically non existent or defunct education, health and so on. The UK should use this opportunity of beefing up Pakistan's security infrastructure to enter the secretive organisations that prop up the Pakistan regimes and also the jihadi horrors.