By B. Raman
During the current visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China to Pakistan, the focus has been on projecting China and Pakistan as military allies helping each other in defending their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Chinese Government controlled Xinhua news agency quoted Wen as telling Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani on December 17 as follows: “China and Pakistan were, are and will always be good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers.China appreciates the strong support Pakistan has long been offering on issues concerning China’s core interests, and will continue backing Pakistan’s efforts in defending national sovereignty, maintaining social stability and achieving independent and sustainable economic development.” Noting that Pakistan has made huge sacrifice for and important contributions to the global counterterrorism campaign, Wen said his country is ready to work together with Pakistan to promote regional peace and stability.
During a meeting with Gen.Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Chief of the Army Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of the Naval Staff, and Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff, at Islamabad on December 18, Wen , according to the Xinhua, called for enhanced military exchanges and cooperation between China and Pakistan so as to cement the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation. He said: ” The Pakistani military is a steadfast supporter and vindicator of the China-Pakistan friendship, and has played an important role in consolidating and developing their strategic partnership of cooperation.”He applauded the close exchanges between the two militaries in the areas of anti-terrorism and disaster relief, and hoped to further enhance the military links to contribute to the development of bilateral ties.
According to the Xinhua, the Pakistani military chiefs who called on Wen described China as an all-weather strategic partner of Pakistan and said the bilateral friendship had withstood severe challenges. The Pakistani military was ready to work jointly with China to play a positive role in developing their strategic partnership of cooperation.