ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Army on Tuesday announced a Special Security Division for security of the projects to be executed under $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through Pakistan.

Director General Inter Services Public Relations Asim Bajwa in a tweet announced that special security division comprising army battalions were going to be deployed for the security of the projects.

The special security division will be comprised of nine Army battalions and six wings of civil armed forces, said Bajwa, adding the division will be commanded by a major general.

About 10,000 troops are likely to be placed under the command of a two-star senior military officer, who would head the Special Security Division.

Half of this force will be drawn from the special services group of Pakistan Army who are specially trained for counter-terrorism and security.

President Mamnoon Hussain also informed his Chinese counterpart about the special security division in their one-on-one meeting.

President Mamnoon also decorated his President Xi Jinping with Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Nishan-i-Pakistan, for his outstanding services towards further cementing Pak-Sino cooperation at a special investiture ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Tuesday.

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, chief ministers of all provinces, AJK President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, federal ministers, parliamentarians, services chiefs, members of Chinese delegation and senior civilian and military officials. Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, Begum Mehmooda Mamnoon Hussain and Begum Kalsoom Nawaz also witnessed the investiture ceremony. National anthems of both countries were also played on the occasion.

The citation read on the occasion said “In recognition of his remarkable services to the cause of strengthening the exemplary friendship between Pakistan and China, the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been pleased to confer on His Excellency Mr. Xi Jinping, Pakistan’s highest civil award of ‘Nishan-i-Pakistan’.

Afterwards, President Mamnoon Hussain hosted luncheon in honour of his Chinese counterpart. At the end of the ceremony, Army band played tunes based on national anthems of both countries.

Upon arrival, President Xi Jinping was warmly received by President Mamnoon Hussain at the main gate of Aiwan-e-Sadr.

Earlier during their one-on-one meeting, President Mamnoon Hussain said that Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (PCEC) project would change the fate of the region adding Pakistan looks forward to speedy implementation of all projects under the flagship project. The President stated that the security of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan is of paramount importance and apprised that the Government of Pakistan has approved the raising of Special Security Division of Pakistan Army to provide security to Chinese nationals working on various projects in Pakistan. He stated that Governments of Pakistan and China have invested great efforts in planning and identifying key projects under PCEC adding that the Chinese President’s visit would provide the impetus for the conclusion as well as implementation of bilateral important agreements.

One on one meeting was followed by delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, President Mamnoon Hussain said that Pakistan and China are iron brothers and both nations enjoy multi-dimensional relationship adding that Pakistan is interested in further strengthening its relations with China in all fields.

Expressing the need to reinforce the strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China, the President stated that the foundation for the time-tested and all weather friendship between the two countries is cemented by mutual trust, excellent cooperation and convergence of views on regional and global issues.

The President said that friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign Policy. He further stated that Chinese President’s visit to Pakistan is hallmark of the year long celebrations of the Pakistan-China Year of Friendly Exchanges 2015.

Talking about Pakistan’s relations with India, the President said that Islamabad has made sincere efforts to improve relations with its neighbour although India continues to issue hostile statements. The President expressed concern regarding India’s recent arms-buying spree which could disturb the strategic balance in South Asia. Emphasizing the need for sustainable peace between Pakistan and India, the President said that Pakistan wants an equitable and just resolution of all outstanding issues with India including Jammu and Kashmir. The President stated that frequent unprovoked ceasefire violations by India along the working boundary and the Line of Control have the potential to divert Pakistan’s attention from the Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

The President said that Operation Zarb-e-Azb is progressing successfully and has produced positive results. He emphasised that Pakistan will continue to target all terrorist organizations irrespective of their agendas and affiliation. The President expressed gratitude for China’s military assistance to Pakistan and stated that further capacity building of the Pakistani armed forces is essential for the overall security and stability of South Asia.

Expressing concern over the deteriorating situation in Yemen, President Mamnoon Hussain said that the whole region will be affected if the crisis stays unresolved. He apprised that Pakistan has simultaneously engaged with Saudi Arabia as well as with Turkey and Iran to promote a peaceful political resolution of Yemen crisis. The President further apprised that Pakistan has also urged the Iranian leadership to use its influence with the Houthis in Yemen to urge them to lay down their arms and participate in the dialogue process. He said that Pakistan welcomes UN Security Council resolution which calls for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The President stated that Pakistan enjoys close relations with Saudi Arabia and would stand by the latter if its territorial integrity is violated.

The President said that Pakistan has been the biggest sufferer of the Afghan conflict adding it would also gain the most from peace in Afghanistan. He stated that Pakistan and China enjoy convergent views on Afghanistan since both countries support a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

The President underscored that Pakistan supported One China policy and also supports China on its issues of core interest i.e. Taiwan, Tibet and human rights. The President said that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) endangers not only China’s stability but also that of Pakistan. The President stressed that Pakistan fully supports China’s efforts against the three evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

President Mamnoon Hussain further said that Pakistan and China have shared interests and common perspectives on the issue of UN Security Council reform. The President expressed Pakistan’s willingness to continue working with China to ensure that the interests of both countries are safeguarded in the reform process.

The President also expressed appreciation for China’s support to Pakistan’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The President also expressed hope that with China’s support, Pakistan would join the organisation as a full member at the SCO summit in Russia in July of the current year.