Thursday, August 5, 2021

China, Pakistan Sign New Defense Deal Amid Rising Tensions With Common Foe – India

Amid ongoing tensions with India, China and Pakistan have signed a new military deal aimed to boost military cooperation among them, during a visit of Chinese defense minister Gen. Wei Fenghe to Pakistan Army headquarters at Rawalpindi.

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According to the reports, Gen. Wei and Pakistan’s COAS Gen. Bajwa discussed matters of mutual interest, regional security, and enhanced bilateral defense collaboration.

This is seen by many as an attempt to flex muscles against New Delhi, which recently concluded the strategically important Malabar-2020 exercise with the Navies of the United States, Australia, and Japan.

Both the Generals also held talks about ongoing projects under the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is an extension of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and runs through the Indian-claimed territory of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Today, New Delhi also refused to support the BRI project during a virtual SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) Summit hosted by India.

Gen. Wei also held a meeting with Pakistan’s Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen. Nadeem Raza, in which both the sides reiterated their ‘all-weather friendship’ and reaffirmed their commitment to ‘iron brotherhood’. Both the militaries already enjoy close military cooperation overtly.

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Gen. Bajwa, the Chief of Army Staff, was quoted as saying that both countries “had been standing together all along, and our relations will be no different in wake of future challenges”, according to Pakistani media reports.

The delegations also signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), however, details of which are not immediately disclosed. A similar MoU was signed last year during the visit of China’s Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission, Gen. Xu Qiliang to Army headquarters in Rawalpindi about ‘capacity building of Pakistan Army’.

Recently, there has been an increase in ceasefire violations at the Line of Control, the de-facto border between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, leading to the loss of lives on both sides.

While this area remains a hotbed of fighting, India’s ongoing standoff with China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh sees no end in sight, making the northern tip of India one of the most heavily militarized regions in the world.

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