Beijing, May 23 (IANS) China has played a positive role in the continuous easing of the relationship between India and Pakistan, said a state-run daily which added, “China has not played balancing strategy, using one country against the other.”
An article in the Global Times said that when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his entourage flew from India to Pakistan Wednesday for a two-day visit, his plane was escorted by six Pakistani Air Force JF-17 fighter jets after entering Pakistani airspace.
Both Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso welcomed Li at the airport in person, which clearly reflects the `all-weather’ friendship between China and Pakistan, it said.
“Developing friendly cooperation with both India and Pakistan, a pair of neighbours with many disputes, meets the interests of China, as well as the interests of the whole region,” the article said.
“China has played a positive role in the continuous easing of the relationship between India and Pakistan. China has not played balancing strategy, using one country against the other,” it said.
It noted that the ties between India and China have “grown broader while the Sino-Pakistan relations have gained depth”.
“Pakistan’s importance to China has never been weakened despite its relatively turbulent political situation and slower economic development compared with China and India in recent years. Pakistan will play a pivotal role in China’s South Asian strategy,” it added.
Global Times pointed out that “India has long been sensitive to the Sino-Pakistan relationship, even suspecting that China secretly helped Pakistan master nuclear technology. These suspicions are groundless but cannot easily be dispelled”.
It assured that China will not exploit Pakistan as a political card to play.
“This should be considered part of the mutual understanding between China and India. However, India must accept and adapt to the enviable friendship between China and Pakistan, which is not aimed at any third party and has no upper limit. China cannot scale down this relationship merely because of India’s feelings.”
The daily went on to say that the strategic value of the Sino-Pakistani relationship is also of regional significance. “It is conducive to the stability of western China and can also assist, rather than harm, the Sino-Indian relationship on the whole.”
It stressed that the urgent priority for Pakistan is the full realization of national peace and stability and developing its economy. “A prosperous, vibrant Pakistan will be an emerging market for a large number of Chinese companies. An economically vibrant Pakistan will be conducive to geopolitical balance in South Asia.”
The article emphasised that China’s input in Pakistan must not be short-term or exploitative.
“We must not underestimate Pakistan which is temporarily at an ebb. Efforts we put into Pakistan today will be strategically rewarded in future.”