Better ties between India and Pakistan could aid China's modernisation drive besides helping regional stability, the government-controlled Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's on Sunday lunch meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was closely followed by China's government-controlled media; Xinhua news agency for one issued several stories on the meeting from both Islamabad and New Delhi, underlining the fact that Beijing was keenly watching it.
In a signed comment piece by current affairs commentator Yu Zhixiao, the news agency said: "Peaceful coexistence between the two countries, which fought three wars after their independence from the British rule in 1947 and engaged in a tit-for-tat nuclear test race in 1998, is indispensable for regional stability, which is vital for regional prosperity and China's modernisation drive."
China’s trade with both countries has been on the rise. With India it is around 74 billion dollars and is expected to touch the 100 billion dollar mark by 2015. With China, the figure is relatively modest at just over 15 billion dollars. That too is expected to rise; a large delegation of Chinese businessmen is expected to visit Pakistan in the coming months.
China, Pakistan’s “all-weather friend”, of course, is closely involved with India’s western neighbour in building infrastructure projects including nuclear power plants and in projects – which irks India no end – in PoK.
There have been high-profile visits between the three countries recently: President H Jintao went to New Delhi last month for the BRICS meet and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was in China last week for an economic forum.
Zhixiao said on Sunday’s meeting was the latest sign of “improvement of the two archrivals' relations” after the terrorists attack on Mumbai in 2008, November.
“The Pakistan-India relationship has undergone twists and turns over the past years. It was seriously hurt by Mumbai attacks in 2008, which killed 166 people. India blamed Pakistan-based terrorists for the attacks, while Pakistan ruled out official involvement and arrested some suspects, but has not prosecuted them,” the article said.
“The two countries' efforts in warming up their ties certainly are welcomed and applauded by the international community including China, which neighbors both nations and maintains significant ties with them,” Yu said, adding: “China wants to further boost ties with both countries, and is happy to witness continuous improvement of the Pakistan-India ties.”