The Pak-China strategic dialogue that concluded in Beijing on Friday resolved to enhance the already existing multifaceted cooperation between the two countries. That was rightly considered the most appropriate response to the prevailing international geopolitical situation. Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, who led the Pakistan delegation, said that a strong strategic cooperation with China was a cornerstone of Islamabad’s foreign policy, a view put across differently by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying, who felt that the two countries shared the same concerns on a host of regional and global issues. Be that the desire to see a quick return of peace and stability to Afghanistan, to set the Middle East’s disturbed situation right, or to effect reforms at the UN Security Council, China and Pakistan were on the same page, she said.

A glance at the history of Pak-China relations beginning 1951 to date would prove the oft-repeated point that despite the changes in the global and internal scenarios that occurred from time to time these relations have continued to flourish. Mr Jilani, therefore, was justified in hoping that the new leadership, shortly to be inducted in office in Beijing, would keep up the momentum of growth. He might as well have stated that Pakistan’s new leadership that would assume power following the general elections due to be held soon would be equally enthusiastic in further strengthening these ties. Beijing’s assistance to Pakistan has been free of strings, timely and in fields that are vital to our sovereignty and, indeed, survival, reinforcing the confidence that China is a genuine friend that Pakistan can ill afford to lose. The Heavy Mechanical Complex, the Kamra Rebuild Factory, the Karakorum Highway, the Chashma power plant and the Gwadar seaport are a few among a host of other projects it has helped build here and that constitute a monument to the strength of that relationship. The feelings of friendship have been sustained as both have felt that their stands on the various issues confronting them and the world as a whole were based on sound moral principles. And frequent exchange of visits between the two countries when common aspirations and goals as well common apprehensions and dangers come up for discussion have put that equation on a solid footing. The report that the newly tested landmark achievement of China in the defence field – the J-31 stealth fighter – would be exported to Pakistan when it comes on line says a lot in that context.

Whatever other factors, the recently developed US-India nexus against China and the US designs for India to play a major post-withdrawal role in Afghanistan would prove to be another potent reason for the two countries to come closer to each other.