COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister of China on Thursday and Friday. The high profile of the visit showed how highly China values the relationship with Pakistan, particularly the defence aspect, which General Kayani mainly discussed. In his meeting with Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie on Friday, General Kayani received a promise for the military ties between the two countries to be increased. This pledge meshes seamlessly with what he heard from Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jinbao, whom he met on Thursday, and who vowed to support closer military exchanges and to support Pakistan’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty. This is particularly important in view of the Salalah incident, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers died in an attack by Nato helicopter gunships. China already uncomfortable with the Nato and American occupation of Afghanistan because of the war on terror, sees their a presence in the region as a catalyst to India's trade developement, as its regional bulwark against China.

The Indian factor may have been mentioned in the Friday morning meeting with People’s Liberation Army Deputy Chief General Ma Xiaotian, which took place before his meeting with General Liang. Apart from the matters of professional interest which were discussed, General Ma may have shared something of his experiences in New Delhi, which he recently visited to take part in the second round of defence dialogue between the two countries. It must not be forgotten that India has only been to war with two countries: Pakistan and China.

General Kayani’s visit has once again illustrated that the Pak-China friendship is long-lasting and deep and will stand both in good stead. China has shown repeatedly that its friendship is not won by following its diktat in foreign policy; it has also shown itself helpful of Pakistan’s development needs, without attaching strings. A fine example for our other friends to follow.