ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is thrilled at China’s intervention for Pak-India peace amid the ever-increasing tension, diplomatic sources said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan had thanked Beijing for the efforts for regional peace.

One official said: “We have told Beijing that Pakistan welcomes steps taken by China for peace in the region. The recent statement by Chinese foreign minister (Wang Yi) has thrilled Islamabad.”

Citing recent contacts with Beijing, he said: “China has assured it will do all it can from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization platform to bring Pakistan and India closer for the benefit of the whole region and defuse tension.”

Earlier, Wang Yi said China expected the SCO to play a key role in resolving the differences between Pakistan and India, who joined the organization last year.

“We know there are existing and historical unresolved conflicts between Pakistan and India,” the Chinese foreign minister said this week, adding: “But I think after they joined the SCO, maybe we can provide a better platform and opportunities for the building of relations between them.”

The statement came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated that Pakistan was a major stumbling block in the improvement of relations between India and China.

Wang Yi said that all SCO members have taken pledges about maintaining good relations with other members. He described the SCO as a “great vehicle” for improving ties between India and Pakistan.

President Mamnoon Hussain was in China this week to represent Pakistan at the SCO Council of Heads of State meeting. During the sideline meetings, Pakistan, Russia and China formed an unofficial bloc vowing to work together in the coming years, diplomatic sources said.

President Hussain also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines. He also held bilateral meetings with other leaders of the SCO member states.

In the recent months, both Moscow and Beijing have expressed optimism that the two nuclear-armed neighbours’ entry into the SCO could strengthen prospects for peace across the region.

The Council of the Heads of State, which convenes annually, is the highest decision-making forum of the SCO. It reviews the performance of the organization and its bodies and makes fundamental decisions about the future course of action. China has held the chairmanship of the Council since the last Summit in Astana in June 2017, which will now pass on to Kyrgyzstan.

The just-concluded summit witnessed the signing of over 20 documents outlining future SCO trajectory in a number of spheres. Besides the Qingdao declaration these included: action plan on implementing the provisions of treaty on long-term good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation; cooperation plan on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism; anti-drug strategy and its plan of action, concept on preventing the abuse of narcotic drugs; declaration on trade facilitation; vision on environment protection and joint appeal of heads of state on the necessity to prevent involvement of youth in activities of destructive nature and action plan.

Besides cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding in various fields such as cooperation on countering threats of epidemics; MOU on stimulating cooperation in the small and medium-sized enterprises.

An MoU for cooperation between SCO and UNESCO was also signed. The council confirmed the appointment of new Secretary General of SCO N V Imamovich and G D Fayozovichnew Executive Director of SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said China was a great friend and had always been firmly behind Islamabad. He said ties with Russia were also developing into partnership. “Pakistan wants peace with India and welcomes all steps in this regard,” he added.

He said peace was in the interest of the whole region and China and Russia were big players.