Pak ‘Indebted’ To China For Support On Kashmir: Army Chief

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Islamabad: Pakistan is “indebted” to its all-weather ally China for its “unflinching support” to Islamabad on the Kashmir issue, the expansion of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said.

Describing China and Pakistan as “important strategic players in the region,” General Bajwa, who was the chief guest at a reception in Rawalpindi on Monday hosted by the Chinese Embassy, said, their bilateral ties have jointly benefited both countries.

“It is a relationship based on mutual trust, respect, understanding and cooperation. In fact, this friendship is flourishing with every passing day, which encompasses every aspect of our life,” he said at a function to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of China’s People’s Liberation Army or PLA.

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General Bajwa said the “professional collaboration between the People’s Liberation Army and Pakistan Army, will continue to expand to bring peace to the region in general and China – Pakistan in particular.”

Calling the 2.3-million-strong People’s Liberation Army – the world’s largest – as “one of the finest military outfits in the world,” Gen Bajwa said the Pakistan Army and the people of Pakistan take great pride in “our deep rooted brotherly relationship” with China.

He noted that both China and Pakistan are faced with similar challenges and opportunities. Both countries have assumed shared responsibility towards stability in the region and prosperity of their people, he said.

“This unity of purpose has led to the consolidation and has strengthened our resolve as determined nations, to brave all challenges and storms together,” he was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistan Army.

The Pakistan Army chief also pointed out that China and Pakistan have expanded their cooperation to wider areas and have launched strategic initiatives like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, defence collaboration in numerous joint projects and united diplomatic front, internationally.

“Pakistan is indebted to China for its unflinching support to our perspective at all international forums, whether it be expansion of Nuclear Suppliers Group, Kashmir Issue, or Pakistan’s full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” General Bajwa said.

While China has been repeatedly blocking India’s membership bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG, Beijing is backing ally Pakistan in spite of Islamabad’s poor track record, to join the elite nuclear trading group on the same terms as India. China, however, backed both India and Pakistan to become full members of the Beijing-based Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

China has also repeatedly been blocking India’s move to get Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

General Bajwa also claimed that China had always provided “unconditional support” to Pakistan’s efforts in Afghanistan. “We have stood by each other through thick and thin and shall continue to stand shoulder to shoulder, come rain or shine,” he added.