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Army chief briefs PM on China’s role in POK

Alarmed at the increasing Pakistan-China nexus, which has seen growing presence of Chinese security forces in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Army Chief General VK

Singh has taken up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In a detailed presentation, the Army chief has apprised the Prime Minister of the ground situation and its implications for Indian security. Gen Singh visited Leh a few days ago to take stock of the situation.

Disclosing this here, sources said the 750-km-long LoC is a disputed boundary between India and Pakistan. China, over the past few years, has increased its presence in POK, thereby effectively forming a military nexus with Pakistan and coming close to the LoC and posing a possible threat to Indian security interests.

Given this background, the Army chief visited Leh early last week to take first hand account of the ground situation and review operational preparedness before meeting the Prime Minister.

Sources said Gen Singh urged the political leadership to speed up the process of modernisation of the armed forces, besides improving infrastructure — including roads and airstrips — in the strategically important region of Jammu & Kashmir.

In fact, the first caution was sounded over the increasing Chinese footprint close to the LoC by Northern Command chief Lt General KT Parnaik in a seminar in Jammu last month. Expressing concern over the emerging scenario, he had said, “China is actually present and stationed on the LoC and it facilitates Pakistan armed forces to complement China’s military operations. Its footprints are too close to India and this presence of China in PoK has to be taken seriously.”

The senior Army officer had also made mention of the fact that China had gained a substantial foothold in Gilgit and Baltistan by infrastructure development and its considerably increasing presence, lends strength to China-Pak nexus which is of great security concern to India.

‘China has also strengthened its presence by building sea links and the increased Chinese presence around India is jeopardising the strategic interests of the country,’ Parnaik said while speaking in a seminar on ‘Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir Internal Dynamics and Externalities’ at University of Jammu.

The Army Commander said China had made inroads around India thus posing substantial challenges not only along the China-Indian border but also along the Line of Control (LoC).

He said ‘a great game is being played by Chinese expansionism and by mushrooming terror networks,’ adding that it was imperative to take control of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and find a viable solution to internal problems of the State without interference from Pakistan.

The Northern Command chief said ‘unless overt and covert interference of Pakistan is neutralised, no political or economic solution will be implemented.’ He also said Pakistan having ceded trans-Karakoram part of Gilgit and Baltistan to China in 1963, Karakoram highway was built to link Pakistan with China.

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