China, Pakistan to step up military cooperation

Published on Jun 13, 2022 06:37 PM IST

The tri-service military delegation of Pakistan visited China from June 9 to 12 where it held discussions with senior officials of the Chinese military and other government departments, according to a statement by the Pakistan army

Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (centre) arrives to attend a military parade to mark National Day in Islamabad, on March 23, 2022. (AP/FILE)
Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (centre) arrives to attend a military parade to mark National Day in Islamabad, on March 23, 2022. (AP/FILE)

BEIJING:The Chinese military will work closely with the Pakistan armed forces to deal with “complicated factors” in the region and reinforce cooperation between the two forces, the Chinese military leadership has told a tri-service delegation from Islamabad.

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa held wide-ranging talks on Sunday with the Chinese military leadership delegation led by General Zhang Youxia, vice-chairperson of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), headed by President Xi Jinping.

The tri-service military delegation of Pakistan visited China from June 9 to 12 where it held wide-ranging discussions with senior officials of the Chinese military and other government departments, according to a statement by the Pakistan army.

The meeting - held under the Pakistan-China Joint Military Cooperation Committee (PCJMCC) mechanism - took place as both countries’ ties with India have plunged in the past three years.

“China is willing to strengthen communication, reinforce cooperation, deepen pragmatic exchanges with Pakistan, and properly deal with the complicated factors in regional situation, so as to push the military-to-military relations for further development,” Zhang, who is Xi’s deputy in the CMC, told Bajwa.

“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners,” Zhang was quoted as telling Bajwa in an official Chinese statement, and noting that over the years, both sides have kept close coordination and “…firmly supported each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests”.

Bajwa said the Pakistan-China friendship is unbreakable and rock-solid. “Pakistan will stand firmly with China at any time, no matter how the international and regional situation changes,” Bajwa said.

Bajwa said Pakistan is ready to crack down on the terrorist forces, strive to improve the capabilities of both sides in dealing with various security challenges, safeguard the common interests of two countries.

Pakistan remains heavily dependent on China for military equipment including for warships and fighter jets.

Only recently Beijing provided its domestically-made J-10 fighter jets to Islamabad to counterbalance, experts say, India’s strategic edge India gained after buying the French Rafale jets.

Though neither Beijing nor Islamabad shared specifics, China would have promised more military support to Pakistan.

The Chinese statement added both sides strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the shuttle van of the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi in Pakistan in April and stressed that any attempt to undermine the China-Pakistan friendship is doomed to fail.

Three Chinese teachers were killed when an explosion triggered by a burqa-clad woman suicide bomber from the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) ripped through a van of the Confucius Institute at the prestigious University of Karachi on April 26.

The separatist BLA said it opposes Chinese investment in Pakistan’s resource-rich Balochistan province, saying locals do not benefit.

The BLA has targeted Chinese nationals on a number of occasions, as has the Pakistani Taliban.

The PCJMCC has two sub committees that include Joint Cooperation Military Affairs (JCMA) and Joint Cooperation Military Equipment & Training (JCMET).

Relations between the two countries have grown steadily across fields despite Western concerns regarding China’s growing influence in the region.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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