The ties between Pakistan and China were forged in a particular context when the world was in the grip of Cold War and the ideological rift between two leading socialist states, the USSR and China, had started developing, and both China and Pakistan perceived India as a common threat. After some six decades the world has changed beyond recognition. And China has peacefully risen to become the second largest economy in the world, with increased military and political clout. Its relationship with USA and India, although competitive, is no longer conflictive. Meanwhile, many new issues and challenges have arisen – the menaces of terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism, separatism and global warming, to mention a few – all requiring fresh global cooperative approach.

In this flurry of kaleidoscopic changes one thing has remained constant: the abiding deep friendship between Pakistan and China. If anything, their bilateral relationship has matured from a tactical alliance to strategic partnership. Pakistan and China have a complete identity of views and approach on all major regional and international issues. It is well–nigh impossible to point out any instance when the two were not in lockstep with each other. Pakistan’s vast land is dotted with complexes and projects of vital significance built with Chinese cooperation. And many more are in the works. The armouries of Pakistan Armed Forces are replete with equipment from China, some co-produced by the two countries.

The warmth and exuberance in their bilateral relations resonate in the hearts of the people of the two countries. They have stood by each other through thick and thin. To describe this relationship as “all-weather” is not an empty cliché.

Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and there is an across-the-board political and public consensus on maintaining strong bilateral ties with China. This invaluable asset has not only to be zealously guarded but concerted efforts need to be made to transfer it to the succeeding generations.

The upsurge in trade and investment ties between China and India should cause no alarm so long it does not impinge on Pak-China deep strategic relationship in the security and defence fields. Similarly, Pak-US collaboration should never give even a hint of Pakistan in any way becoming part of US containment of China policy. Pakistan can never think of it. .

Indeed both Pakistan and China greatly value their rock-solid ties. Chinese Foreign Minister had told his Pakistani counterpart that “the only country with which we describe our relationship as ‘all-weather friendship’ is Pakistan. And “China and Pakistan were, are, and will forever be good neighbours, good friends, good partners and good brothers,” said Chinese Premier.

President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan during April 2015, provided yet another opportunity to reaffirm the two countries resolve to elevate their bilateral relations to an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.