After a number of conciliatory steps taken by the country’s leadership to promote regional peace, China said on Monday that “it is pleased with Pakistan’s recent positive interactions with India”.
The relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours have been on the mend since New Delhi and Islamabad in an unexpected move announced to restore the 2003 ceasefire on February 25.
Since then both sides have been visibly trying to send positive signals. While the Pakistani leadership is giving conciliatory statements, India also opted to avoid giving hostile statements against Islamabad.
On February 2, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa gave a telling statement, offering India a resolution of the Kashmir dispute through a “peaceful and dignified manner”. He went on to say “it is time to extend a hand of friendship to all directions”.
Three days later, Prime Minister Imran Khan offered an olive branch to the Modi-led government, stating that his government is ready to take two steps forward if India takes one. On February 23, despite hostilities, India permitted the PM’s special aircraft to use its airspace for a visit to Sri Lanka.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wrote a letter to his Pakistani counterpart, congratulating him on Pakistan Day. He expressed his desire to have a “cordial relationship” with the people of Pakistan.
Last week, Pakistan and India also held talks on water issues. The meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission in New Delhi was the first since August 2018.
“We are ready to work with Pakistan, and continue to inject positive energy into regional peace, stability and development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a press conference today.
He said that China supported Pakistan’s foreign policy of peace and good-neighbourliness as well as its commitment to advancing the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
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Lijian called on world leaders, especially South Asian leaders, to discard hatred, prejudice and religious extremism, and jointly safeguard regional peace and prosperity. “To pursue peace and development is the shared aspiration of all countries in the region.”
He apprised that China has noted and highly appreciated President Dr Arif Alvi’s positive comments on China-Pakistan relations in his speech delivered on the occasion of the Pakistan Day military parade.
“China also cherishes its all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation with Pakistan. We are ready to take the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties as an opportunity to work together in the fight against Covid-19, carry forward our traditional friendship, deepen all-round cooperation, and build an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future for the new era,” he added.
Quoting President Alvi, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that he also stressed in his speech that Pakistan will focus on development, and remain committed to peaceful coexistence with the outside world.
“Pakistani President Alvi said at the National Day military parade that China is our closest and friendliest country. We highly appreciate his remarks. Long live China-Pakistan friendship,” he exclaimed.