Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday recognised the deep-rooted ties between Pakistan and the United Kingdom, expressing the hope that relations between the two countries would reach "historic heights" in the future.
The army chief made the remarks while attending the passing-out parade at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst where he was the chief guest.
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is one of several military academies of the United Kingdom and is the British Army’s initial officer training centre.
All British Army officers, including late-entry officers who were previously Warrant Officers, as well as other men and women from overseas, are trained at the academy. Sandhurst is the British Army equivalent of the Britannia Royal Naval College and the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
Due to the pandemic, the army chief had not visited the academy over the last couple of years, but had been a regular visitor each year since he took over as head of the army.
Today, the COAS began his address by saying that it was a "great honour and privilege" for him to be present during today's ceremony.
He congratulated the cadets and their families on successfully completing their training at the academy, saying: "You are part of one of the finest militaries in the world that has produced great military leaders".
"Two Pakistani cadets will also be graduating with you today and let me say that I am as proud of you as I am of them," he told the graduating cadets.
Gen Bajwa said that his presence at the academy today bore "testimony" to the "deep-rooted relationship" shared by Pakistan and UK "based on mutual respect and shared values".
"Similarly, the bond between the two armed forces is uniquely special and has been kept alive over the years through close professional contact in training and other military activities," he remarked.
The COAS, moving on to address the passing out cadets, highlighted that there would be great responsibilities and expectations associated with them henceforth.
"The journey ahead of you is both challenging and exciting. As you grow, the demand for professionalism will also increase," he said, pointing out that no one was born with professional knowledge rather "it has to be acquired with constant pursuit".
"Without it you can not achieve professional confidence which is the hallmark of successful military leadership," Gen Bajwa stated, adding that decision-making was also very important.
"You need to have the will to take decisions and accept full responsibility. That will require confidence and competence."
Gen Bajwa concluded his speech by wishing the cadets the best for their future and hoped that they would serve their countries with honour, dignity and pride. After the speech, he also inspected the cadets and chatted with them.
The COAS had arrived in UK early on Thursday morning. During his visit, he is also expected to call on the military leadership of the UK.