Pak army chief holds talks with China's military top brass

Amid Indo-US bonhomie, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif on Sunday met China's military top brass here with the two sides agreeing to enhance long-term bilateral defence collaboration, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 25, 2015, 21:11 PM IST

Beijing: Amid Indo-US bonhomie, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif on Sunday met China's military top brass here with the two sides agreeing to enhance long-term bilateral defence collaboration, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation.

Gen Sharif's visit comes as US President Barack Obama warms up to India with an unprecedented second visit. Pakistan is under pressure from both India and the US over the issue of terrorism with calls to impose a complete ban on Jamaat-ud- Dawah and its chief, Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

The Pakistan army chief, who is here on a two-day visit, reviewed a guard of honour along with his Chinese counterpart Gen Qi Jianguo, at the People's Liberation Army Headquarters and then held talks with him.

"COAS held extensive meeting with his counterpart. Full range of regional security, defence related issues discussed," Pakistan military spokesperson Major Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted.

"Enhanced long-term defence collaboration, security and counter-terrorism cooperation, intelligence sharing, training exchanges decided," he said.

Gen Sharif also called on General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, this morning and briefed him about the crackdown against terrorists in Pakistan.

Gen Fan conveyed China's support to Pakistan in its offensive against the militants. They discussed operations against militants in the border areas.

Gen Fan praised Pakistan's military offensive codenamed 'Zarb-i-Azb, terming it as a "decisive, indiscriminate, bold and hard blow for terrorists," Bajwa said.

The two countries have stepped up security to prevent infiltration of Uygur militants from China's volatile Xinjiang region.

Pakistan's military has targeted militant bases in the tribal areas which also included militants from East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the group which has carried out a number of violent attacks in China's restive Xinjiang region.

The Pakistan army chief arrived here yesterday to meet China's political and military leadership and discuss issues pertaining to security and defence cooperation.

"China will, as always, give firm support to Pakistan's efforts to combat terrorism," Gen Fan was quoted as saying by China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

Pakistan stepped up its campaign against terrorism in the wake of the Peshawar school attack that claimed 150 lives, mostly of school children.

The Xinjiang is simmering with tensions between Uygur Muslims and Han settlers.

Gen Sharif's visit has come in the backdrop of China beefing up military presence in Xinjiang which borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan as the US armed forces leave Afghanistan.

Recent reports have said many ETIM militants were trying to leave China through its border with Vietnam after Pakistan and Chinese troops intensified vigil along the boundary.