China hosts Antony, Sharif

NEW DELHI (TIP): Desperate to play ‘peace-broker’ in India-Pakistan ties, China on July 4 hosted Defence Minister AK Antony and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif separately, but projected it as a rare diplomatic event. As Sharif and Antony arrived in Beijing, the country’s State-television said China was setting off a new phase of cordial ties between the two nations by hosting top leaders from both the countries – .

“Both India and Pakistan are very important countries in our neighbourhood,” Wang Shida, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary Relations, told CCTV news. “China-India have established strategic cooperative partnership since 2005. Meanwhile, China and Pakistan enjoyed an all-weather partnership for half a century.

“It means both India and Pakistan are important diplomatically to China. Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to both the countries last month sets a very good example,” he said. Though their visits were a coincidence, Sharif and Antony were not expected to cross paths. Antony, who is the first Indian Defence Minister to visit China in seven years, is in Beijing on a four-day visit. The recent border incursion by Chinese troops, finalisation of the Border Defence Coordination Agreement (BDSA) to maintain peace at the disputed borders as well as resumption of bilateral Military exercises top Antony’s agenda for talks with the Chinese leadership. Hours before AK Antony arrived in Beijing for high-level talks on Thursday, a hawkish Chinese General warned India against provoking ‘new trouble’ by increasing its Military deployment at the border.

Don’t provoke China with new trouble: PLA General warns India
“There is no denying that there are tensions and problems between China and India particularly at the border areas,” Major General Luo Yuan, executive vice president and secretary general of China Strategy Culture Promotion Association, said. “The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase the Military deployment at the border areas and start new trouble,” General Luo, known for his hawkish and extreme views on China’s strategic and military relations with its neighbours and the US, said.

Sharif, who arrived in Beijing on his first foreign visit after returning to power, met Chinese President Xi Jinping and sought assistance in energy, transport and infrastructure projects. During his meeting, Sharif spoke about the numerous challenges that Pakistan was faced with, including pulling the economy out from its current difficulties.

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