Pakistan trying to improve ties with India: Daily

Islamabad, July 3 (IANS) Pakistan is trying to improve its relations with India and "it is in this context that the country's strategic engagement with China must evolve", a daily said Wednesday.

"For a long time, the desire to contain India provided a common denominator for robust relations between the two countries. However, that reason is now melting away as Chinese and Indian leaderships have looked past their differences to forge trade ties in their quest for economic growth," an editorial in the News International said, a day ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's China visit.

"Having suffered the damaging effects of a hostile neighbourhood, Pakistan, too, is trying to improve its relations with India. It is in this context that the country's strategic engagement with China must evolve," it added.

Nawaz Sharif will be in China July 4-8 - his first foreign visit since assuming office.

"Behind all the glitz and glamour of public rhetoric affirming the long-standing friendship, the two neighbours will discuss serious business," said the daily.

"...Pakistan has already expressed its desire to expand economic cooperation and serve as a trade and energy corridor for western China and the rest of the region. Nevertheless, China will be extremely cautious in making specific commitments. The changing global scenario, regional instability and the rise of China and India as strong regional contenders have had an impact on Pakistan-China relations," it noted.

The daily went on to say that "a dilapidated economy, an unwieldy energy crisis and a fraught security situation do not make us an attractive destination for foreign capital".

"Pakistan must sort out its internal problems before it can even hope to realise the true economic potential of its relations with China. China is also closely watching the situation in Afghanistan and efforts for negotiating with the Taliban.

"...Differing concerns notwithstanding, Pakistan and China continue to enjoy strong ties. There is, however, always room for improvement," it added.

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