Islamabad, Beijing vow to boost defence cooperation

Published December 2, 2020
President Dr Arif Alvi welcomes Chinese National Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe, at Aiwan-e-Sadr. — Photo courtesy President of Pakistan Twitter
President Dr Arif Alvi welcomes Chinese National Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe, at Aiwan-e-Sadr. — Photo courtesy President of Pakistan Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Tuesday vowed to deepen their cooperation for tackling threats to regional peace and stability.

This was the highlight of Chinese Defence Minister Gen Wei Fenghe’s meetings with Pakistan’s civilian leadership during which both sides pointed to the growing threats to regional security from India’s hegemonic designs.

Gen Wei is on a three-day trip to Pakistan, which is part of Chinese military’s regional outreach in the midst of tensions with India. His Pakistan leg of the trip followed his visit to Nepal.

Military leaders of Pakistan and China had a day earlier signed a memorandum of understanding for enhancement of defence cooperation.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his meeting with Gen Wei, recalled India’s “unilateral and illegal actions of August 5, 2019” through which it annexed occupied Kashmir, to emphasise how ruling BJP’s “belligerent actions, discriminatory measures against Indian minorities”, and freedom curbs were threatening regional peace.

Chinese minister holds meetings with civilian leadership

He called for deepening bilateral “strategic communication and coordination” to deal with the emerging challenges and threats.

President Dr Arif Alvi told Gen Wei that one of Pakistan’s major considerations for cementing ties with China was to address challenges for regional peace.

He recalled that ties with Beijing were the “cornerstone” of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

“The president expressed concern over the Indian hegemonic designs that posed a threat to regional peace and stability. He also highlighted India’s state-sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan,” the presidency said in a statement.

Dr Alvi said there was a huge scope of defence cooperation that needed to be further expanded for mutual advantage.

The Chinese defence minister, in his conversations in Islamabad, noted the progress made in defence ties between the two “all-weather friends” and expressed the hope that his visit would further strengthen that cooperation.

Gen Wei, moreover, underlined that the South Asia and Arabian Sea Region needed peace, stability and economic development and called for Pak-China collective efforts to protect and promote common interests.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2020

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