The two-day visit of Afghan President Hamid Karazi to India, which started on October 4, 2011, ended up with an establishment of Indo-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership duly signed by the visiting Afghan President and the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. Coming on the heels of a strained phase in Pakistan-US relations and Afghanistans strong verbal attacks against Pakistan, the visit assumed huge significance from political and strategic point of view. The reading of text of the Strategic Partnership between Kabul and New Delhi also affirms the notion of a new chapter in the bilateral history of the two countries. Given this background, the visit of Chinese Vice Premier, Meng Jianzhu, to Islamabad and his assurance of the Chinese support to Pakistan through thick and thin was read as an act of balancing the skewed regional position, which progressively wore anti-Pakistan colour. These developments have led the political commentators to conclude that South Asia is all set to experience the shifting of political alignments with far-reaching implications for the end-game in Afghanistan. While we leave the comment on the fallout of growing Indo-Afghanistan strategic relationship and what policy option Pakistan has got to protect its vital interests in the region for another day, it is in the fitness of things to analyse the broad contours of much-talked about Indo-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership. The document is an outcome of sustained engagement between Kabul and New Delhi spread over years and builds upon the May visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Afghanistan. The Strategic Partnership draws on the Treaty of Friendship singed on January 04, 1950 between the Government of India and the Royal Government of Afghanistan, subsequent Agreements and joint statements. The Treaty states: There shall be everlasting peace and friendship between the two Governments who will further strive to maintain and strengthen the cordial relations existing between the people of their respective countries." The document is multi-dimensional in nature and covers such diverse areas as political and security cooperation, trade and economic cooperation, capacity development and education, social, cultural, civil society and people-to-people relations. Pakistan has legitimate security concerns but there is no need to get jittery on this count. When asked to comment on the establishment of Strategic Partnership between India and Afghanistan, Prime Minister Gilani said that both countries were sovereign nations and could enter into any kind of cooperation with each other and that Pakistan was not perturbed by the development. Pakistan remains an important player in the region and has vital cards to foil any attempt at what has been termed as strategic encirclement. AMANAT ALI CHAUDHRY, Lahore, October 25.