Mass production of aircraft, missiles on agenda at Pak-China military meet: Experts.

17-03-2017
HT


Mass production of a jointly developed multi-role combat aircraft and ballistic missiles in Pakistan were on the agenda during a meeting between the Sino-Pak military brass in Beijing on Thursday, experts have said.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was on the top of the agenda too with both sides vowing to protect the project by increasing security along its route and strengthening manpower.

A top Chinese official reported Beijing as saying that the CPEC would be made into a “landmark” project.

In a series of meetings, Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met General Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department under the CMC.

Li Zuocheng, commander of the PLA Army, Shao Yuanming, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department under China’s CMC, also attended the meeting.

Besides military officials, Bajwa met vice-premier, Zhang Gaoli, who is a member of the elite Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China’s Politburo.

Commenting on the meeting, Song Zhongping, a military expert who served in the Second Artillery Corps (now known as the PLA Rocket Force), said: “Weapon exchanges, including the mass production of FC-1 Xiaolong, a lightweight and multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the two countries, will be furthered after the meeting.”

Song, speaking to the nationalistic tabloid Global Times added, “China’s authorisation to Pakistan to produce ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles and main battle tanks in Pakistan is also on the agenda.”

During the meeting, General Fan Changlong said the military-to-military relationship was an important part of China-Pakistan relations.

Fan said China and Pakistan were all-weather strategic cooperative partners and peoples of the two countries maintained a fraternal friendship.

“Over recent years, the two militaries have carried out all-round cooperation in such fields as mutual visits, joint exercises and training, exchanges among military academies and so forth,” he was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Defence.

He said the CPEC “...is the flagship project of “One Belt, One Road” initiative and leaders of both countries have attached great importance to it and positive progress has been made”.

“Fan stressed that China appreciates Pakistani military’s positive efforts to safeguard the security of the CPEC and is willing to further strengthen the cooperation with Pakistan, so as to promote the pragmatic cooperation between the two militaries in all fields to a new high,” the defence ministry said.

“Pakistan is willing to work with China to firmly fight against the terrorist forces, so as to guarantee a complete success of the CPEC project,” Bajwa said.

Earlier this week, Masood Khalid, Pakistani Ambassador to China, told a press conference that Islamabad has deployed more than 15,000 troops to protect the CPEC, and the country’s navy has raised a contingent for the protection of Gwadar Port.

The port was built and is now operated by China.

 

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