The Sino-Pakistan economic corridor project that is likely to run through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir should not be of any concern to India as it is outside the scope of bilateral disputes that the two South Asian neighbours have, Beijing said on Friday.
The corridor project will be part of the primary bilateral agenda when President Xi Jinping meets Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on April 21 and 22, a first state visit by a Chinese leader in nine years.
The two sides will sign a cooperation pacts on energy, transportation, infrastructure, economy, trade and science and technology.
The leaders will also issue a joint statement, assistant foreign minister, Liu Jianchao said at a special briefing on Friday.
A number of inter-governmental cooperation documents and commercial deals concerning the economic corridor will also be signed.
Xi is also expected to announce billions of dollars in funds for the economic corridor.
But China and its “all-weather strategic partner” Pakistan’s closeness should not bother India, Liu said,“I do not think that the Indian side should be overly concerned about that (economic corridor)”.
China is aware about “differences” between India and Pakistan but both, Liu said, were Beijing’s friends.
On terrorism, Liu said China had intelligence that “quite a number” of operatives of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), who China alleges are inciting separatism in its Xinjiang province – are based in Pakistan.
But, he added, they are common threat to both countries.
“To fight against terrorism including East Turkestan Islamic Movement is in the interest of both the countries. Therefore both the countries have carried effective cooperation in this regard,” Liu said.
Xi will address Pakistan’s National Assembly during his visit besides meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain and the country’s top military leaders.
Xi’s visit, Liu said, will map out “a nobler plan for China-Pakistan relations and cooperation in various areas in the next five to ten years and take bilateral relations to a new level.”
“Therefore this visit will have important far reaching significance for China-Pakistan relations and China’s relations with neighbourhood countries. Pakistan is important neighbour and all weather strategic partner of China.”
A first: India, China discuss disarmament
India and China on Friday concluded the first bilateral dialogue on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control in Beijing.
The Indian embassy said it was an “important new element” in the bilateral dialogue mechanism that New Delhi and Beijing have.
“The two sides agreed that this mechanism is an important new element in the bilateral dialogue architecture and decided to continue discussion at the next round of consultations,” the statement said.
The Indian delegation was led by joint secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs) Amandeep Singh Gill while the Chinese side was led by director general Wang Qun of the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs.