THE history of relations between Pakistan and China, both becoming independent almost at the same time in the latter part of the '40s, constitutes a glorious example of how foreign policy conducted with the spirit of sincere friendship could pay off. The understanding between the two countries, an outcome of the approach to go out of the way to help each other, obviously has worked to their mutual benefit. Beijing's help to Pakistan has been in the domain of crucial economic and military infrastructure: Karakoram highway, Kamra aeronautical complex, JF-17 Thunder, Gwadar deep seaport, heavy mechanical and electrical complexes, nuclear power plants and a large number of other projects. And the absence of any strings cemented the mutual bonds, prompting the observation that the relations were "higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the ocean". But in the maze of competing interests of big powers in this strategically important region, a smaller nation would find it hard to strike a balance unless it has the fortune of having a wise and seasoned leadership at the helm. The Chinese nation was lucky in that respect and not only did not waver in its commitment to help us develop and prosper, but also wholeheartedly addressed its needs of internal development. The result is so glaringly obvious. China has emerged as a power to reckon with, replacing Japan as the third economic power in the world and fast moving ahead to edge out Germany from second place. Militarily also, it is undoubtedly a big player. About Pakistan, the less said the better. Whatever the circumstances we are in, we must not forget to build on the Pak-China time-tested relationship. It is incumbent on our policymakers to work hard to regain the tempo of our former interaction with China and not be misled by the abiding friendship we are promised by the Western superpower, which is fickle and carries a heavy baggage of liabilities. If we have to grow and develop we should reset out sails towards friendly shores and learn from them the art of living as a truly independent, sovereign nation.__