New Delhi: In what will come as bad news for India, ‘all-weather friends’ China and Pakistan are set to not just increase weapons exchanges, the former is also expected to ‘authorise’ the latter to produce ballistic, cruise, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, and battle tanks, China’s state-run media reported late on Thursday.
The weapons exchanges include the mass production of FC-1 Xiaolong, a lightweight and multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the two countries, reported Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party’s news outlet. The two sides also agreed to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation and strike terrorist forces including China’s insurgent East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
These were the outcomes of yesterday’s meeting in Beijing between Pakistan’s army chief+ Qamar Bajwa and a top Chinese military official, Fang Fenghui. In exchange for Beijing’s largesse, Islamabad agreed to ensure the safety of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“Pakistan and China enjoy a special friendly relationship with each other and have a common destiny,” Bajwa reportedly said at the meeting, according to a statement on the website of China’s defence ministry.
Pakistan has deployed more than 15,000 troops to protect CPEC and the country’s navy has raised a security contingent to protect the Gwadar Port, said Masood Khalid, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, at a news conference on Tuesday, according to Global Times. The Port is a key CPEC project.
“As Pakistan faces frequent threats from terrorist forces such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda, military support is necessary to ensure a safe environment for the regions where there is huge investment from China”, said Song Zhongping, a military expert who has served in the Chinese army, to Global Times.
Pakistan’s Bajwa is reported to have said the country’s army is willing to “deepen the cooperation with the Chinese army and fully support the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in Counter Terrorism by Afghanistan-China-Pakistan-Tajikistan Armed Forces.”