Pakistan and China sign new defence agreement

Islamabad: Pakistan and China have signed a new defence accord to further deepen military cooperation in a wide range of areas.

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The agreement was signed during the visit of China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe who arrived in Islamabad on Monday. Gen Fenghe held a detailed meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the army’s headquarters to discuss “matters of mutual interest, regional security and enhanced bilateral defence collaboration”, according to a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

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CPEC security discussed

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State Councillors Gen Wei Fenghe, who is also China’s minister of national defence, “acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s sincere efforts for regional peace and provision of secure environment for CPEC projects”, the military’s media wing added. Pakistan army chief thanked the dignitary for “China’s unwavering support to Pakistan on all key issues” at regional and international forums.

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Time-tested relations

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During the meeting, Gen Bajwa said that “Pakistan Army greatly values time-tested and brotherly relations with China”. The two countries have been standing together all along, and “our relations will be no different in wake of future challenges”, Pakistan army chief avowed.

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On Tuesday, Pakistan’s President Dr Arif Alvi awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz Military (Order of Excellence) to Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe in recognition of his services for further strengthening defence cooperation between Pakistan and China.

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Earlier on arrival at the GHQ, the Chinese defence minister laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada (martyrs’ memorial). A contingent of Pakistan Army also presented the Guard of Honour to the visiting dignitary.

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Pak-China defence ties

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Pakistan has long enjoyed well-developed defence, economic and strategic cooperation with China. Defence collaboration forms the backbone of Pakistan-China relationship with frequent high-level military exchanges, joint exercises, training of personnel, defence and security talks, joint defence production and defence trade. The two neighbours also enjoy an extensive range of cooperation including defence partnerships, joint ventures, particularly the production of aircraft, submarines, tanks and other military equipment.

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CPEC new projects

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The multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – further cemented the strong strategic partnership. At a recent meeting of Pakistan China Joint Working Group (JWG) on Gwadar, the officials from the two countries finalised the deliverable projects under CPEC including New Gwadar International Airport, seawater desalination plant, breakwater projects, Eastbay Expressway project connected to free trade zone, a 300MW coal-fired power plant, Pak-China Friendship Hospital, and a vocational institute.

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