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India must decide if it's comfortable with Chinese role: Pak

Last updated on: February 23, 2010 16:28 IST

Pakistan said on Tuesday that it had given a "blank cheque" to China to play a role in improving the Indo-Pak ties and it is for India to decide whether they would be comfortable with Beijing acting as a "third party".

Addressing the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Islamabad would welcome any role given to China to bring down tensions between India and Pakistan because of the trust and confidence it enjoyed with its close ally.

"It is for the Indians to decide if they would be comfortable to have China talking as a third party to bridge the gap. As far as Pakistan is concerned they (China) have a blank cheque," he said at the prestigious Chinese think tank.

Reacting to Qureshi's comments, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said India and Pakistan were both important friendly neighbours of China.

China supports and welcomes the improvement in relations between India and Pakistan and backs efforts to settle their outstanding issues through dialogue, he said.

The spokesman said that China and Pakistan are committed to working jointly for peace and stability in the region.

Qureshi also said at the institute that China played a "positive role" in defusing Indo-Pak tensions in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.

"Pakistan appreciates the role played China immediately after the Mumbai terror attacks. China on its own nominated a special envoy, who travelled to Delhi and Islamabad trying to bring the temperatures down to promote reconciliation and understanding. That was a positive role," Qureshi said responding to a question.

Speaking on 'Pakistan's Challenges and Our Response', he said China and Pakistan built "a magnificent edifice of confidence and trust, friendship and cooperation and Pakistan supported 'one China' policy. It is a living example of the Confucian philosophy of harmony without uniformity."

"We have different political systems, different cultures and different traditions. Yet, we created a beautiful mosaic of vibrant colours and warmth," he said, adding the bilateral relationship was a model for other countries to follow.

Qureshi said about 11,000 Chinese are currently working in about 120 Chinese companies in Pakistan in projects ranging from mining, energy exploration to infrastructure and manufacturing.

He said pattern of the Chinese economic assistance has focussed on development that strengthens economic fundamentals as "opposed to handouts or conditional aid that reinforce the vicious cycle of dependency."

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