Friendly relations have transformed into an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership characterised by mutual trust, respect, goodwill.
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan-China friendship is nearly as long as Pakistan’s own age as an independent nation and it is no surprise that China’s National Day is celebrated across Pakistan like a national event.
The iron-brothers, as they call themselves, have cultivated a robust and enduring relationship. This diplomatic partnership, initiated in May 1951, has evolved into a close friendship and collaboration that spans various domains. Yesterday, Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani conveyed warm felicitations to their Chinese counterparts, emphasizing the enduring friendship between the two nations. Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moinul Haque, also extended greetings, highlighting China’s remarkable achievements and its role as a pillar of peace, stability, development, and progress in the world.
They all acknowledged that Pakistan and China’s close and friendly relations have transformed into an “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership” characterized by mutual trust, respect, and goodwill. They maintained that the economic dimension of this partnership has been particularly significant. Several events were held across Pakistan at the official and unofficial levels in the last few days to mark China’s National Day. Both nations, upholding principles of sovereignty, have forged a strong bond while asserting their roles on regional and global stages.
Pakistan, facing two significant wars in the 1960s and 1970s, received vital support from China, solidifying their bilateral ties. China’s consistent backing of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and its investments in infrastructure projects underscore the depth of their partnership. In the early 2000s, Beijing and Islamabad expanded their cooperation by embarking on projects such as the development of Pakistan’s Gwadar Port and the signing of a free trade agreement in 2006. The launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2015, under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), further strengthened their economic links, leading to a notable increase in bilateral trade. Despite speculations by rivals, the China-Pakistan partnership remains resilient, with no evidence of rifts undermining their enduring collaboration. This partnership is anchored in historical foundations and contemporary developments grounded in mutual trust and shared strategic interests.
China’s recent decision to extend a $ 2 billion loan to help Pakistan cope with its ongoing economic crisis underscores China’s commitment to its all-weather partnership with Pakistan. Chinese investments in infrastructure and energy projects in Pakistan had a positive impact, addressing chronic energy shortages and enhancing connectivity within the country and with neighboring states. Several infrastructure projects, including motorways, railways, and ports, have been initiated, with some already completed and others under construction.
CPEC has also contributed over 12,000 megawatts of electricity to alleviate Pakistan’s energy crisis. While there has been criticism regarding the slow development of industrial and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) with Chinese assistance, progress is being made. Land has been allocated for SEZs in various regions, particularly in Punjab and Sindh, which are expected to drive initiatives in this area. Economic collaboration, however, remains a relatively underexplored aspect of the partnership, requiring time and joint efforts to flourish.
The most critical facet of bilateral cooperation is security, and there has been extensive collaboration between Pakistan and China in recent years. Both countries have aligned closely on military cooperation and key strategic issues in regional security and counterterrorism. They maintain a strategic partnership focused on ensuring a stable and secure regional environment.
This strong partnership is exemplified by the remarks of Pakistan’s former army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa (retd), who described China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Pakistan Army as “brothers in arms” dedicated to safeguarding their collective interests during a ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of the PLA. China plays a crucial role in maintaining a balance of power in South Asia, with Pakistan being the largest recipient of Chinese arms, accounting for nearly 40 percent of Chinese arms exports. Military interactions between China and Pakistan have surpassed China-Russia engagements between 2017 and 2021, encompassing joint exercises, defense cooperation, and the exchange of military technologies and expertise.
China’s unwavering support for Pakistan on critical matters like Afghanistan and the Kashmir dispute highlights their alignment in shared interests. China’s swift call for a UN Security Council meeting in 2019, following border escalations and air skirmishes between Pakistan and India, demonstrated its steadfast support for Pakistan within the United Nations. As the two friendly nations celebrated China’s National Day, the leadership of both the countries have pledged to stand together as everlasting friends and jointly work for peace and prosperity of the region.