Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday applauded Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts in a speech to parliament, vowing his nation would continue to stand by its neighbor.
Lawmakers gave Xi a standing ovation after his address, aired live on state-run Pakistani TV. Legislators, military leaders and foreign ambassadors all attended the speech.
Xi pledged in his speech that China and Pakistan will always move forward together and the Chinese people will always stand together with the Pakistani people.
Xi arrived Monday to Islamabad on a two-day visit, where he and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif oversaw their ministers and other officials signing 51 deals.
Xi brought with him investment projects worth $45 billion in energy and infrastructure construction, Pakistani Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said. Up to $37 billion would be spent on Pakistan’s troubled electrical grid, Iqbal said.
Of the total investment, Iqbal said, $28 billion projects were ready to be rolled out, while it will take three to five years for rest of them to take start.
China and Pakistan long have maintained close political and military relations, based partly on mutual antipathy toward neighbor India. However, stronger China-India ties have challenged that perception and Xi’s visit seems intended to reassure Pakistan.
Xi postponed a visit to Islamabad last year due to anti-government protests in Pakistan and instead traveled to India. China also is eager to boost trade and investment with New Delhi, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Beijing in the coming weeks.
China is a leading arms supplier to Pakistan and has sought its help in combating anti-Chinese Islamic separatists reportedly hiding in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas. China also wants to enlist Pakistan’s help in stabilizing Afghanistan as U.S. and international troops wind down their presence there.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines