Beijing, Jan 26: After terming US President Barack Obama's unprecedented second visit to India as a "superficial rapprochement", China on Monday described Pakistan as its strategic partner, important neighbour and brother.
Amid Indo-US bonhomie, Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif is on a two-day visit to China and met China's military top brass in Beijing with the two sides agreeing to enhance long-term bilateral defence collaboration, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation.
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 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, on Sunday 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 on Saturday 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 Xnhua news agency.
(With inputs from PTI)