While speaking to the media, a Chinese ministry spokesman revealed that during the middle of November, the country’s top military officials will visit Pakistan and India.
General Fan Changlong, the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, which is directed by President Xi Jinping, will be visiting neighboring states with the agenda of regional peace and security on top of the wish list. Moreover, Beijing has diversified its relations with both India and Pakistan. Whereas Islamabad has always being considered a friend and a partner for economic development goals, China always has had indifferent relations with New Delhi due to the bitter history the two have shared over the years.
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However, for regional peace and security, Beijing is now looking towards strengthening its relations with its neighbors, regardless of how things were in the past. One cannot choose or change their neighbors; they have to live with them, and the best way to resolve issues and maintain harmony and peace is by opting for dialogue rather than adopting confrontational policies that are never really a sound solution for any problem.
Example of Europe as a beacon of hope for South Asia?
Indeed, the example of Europe and how its states have chosen to rise above their differences, which resulted in bloodshed and almost total annihilation of the continent, serves as a great example of how historic differences can be set aside to promote regional stability through which prosperity can find a way to exist. Today, the same states that had shored up their borders to ensure their sovereignty now operate on a system of open borders in what is a great model for success and should be tried, at least in regions that are always mired in one conflict or another.
General Changlong’s visits to Pakistan and India are expected to boost friendly relationships and create a new-age coalition to enhance regional peace and security. While keeping in mind the development of the much-talked China-Pakistan Economic Corridor from the deep shores of Gwadar, passing through the mighty Himalayas straight towards Kashgar, China’s dry port, Beijing, needs to secure transportation routes, and that cannot be maintained without stability in the region. The People’s Republic of China is aware of the history of bad blood between Pakistan and India, with the two South Asian neighbors sharing one of the most volatile borders in the world with cross-firing a regular occurrence. Aware of the fact that the Economic Corridor will never achieve its milestones without peace between Pakistan and India, the Chinese visit carries a lot of value indeed.
Pakistan, India, China and the ensuing military relations on an equal footing?
Moreover, with this visit, Pakistan’s and China’s military relations are expected to reach unprecedented heights. As of now, Beijing is helping Pakistan in the defense and space sector, while several joint military drills have been organized to eliminate terrorism from the region.
Last Tuesday, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General, Raheel Sharif, visited the Bahadur Ranges (Attock) with a high level Chinese military delegation headed by General Li Fayi to observe the Pakistani and Chinese Special Forces Field Exercise, Warrior-III. While addressing the troops of both countries, General Sharif said, “The everlasting relation will grow to unprecedented heights as both countries will continue to work for elimination of terrorism in all forms.”
Pakistan and China consider themselves “all-weather friends” and China’s relations with India have gradually improved since 1962 when the two were involved in a border conflict.
However, the jury is still out on the long-term viability of this particular tour, especially the second leg in which India will be the host. In recent times, India has really come to the forefront as one of the regional powers in South Asia if not Asia in general. Moreover, India has had its reservations regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor where it believes that the word “economy” has been flashed around excessively considering the fact that China has invested in Pakistan’s military sector equally.