India has expressed concerns over the deployment of Chinese troops in Pakistan to protect the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“We are closely watching these developments,” a top government official told India’s NDTV, adding, “We have a fair idea of the number of Chinese troops that are likely to be positioned in Pakistan.”
Contingents of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are expected to guard the 3,000-kilometre long CPEC route which connects the deep-sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan to China’s Xinjiang region.
Pakistan has raised three independent infantry brigades and two additional artillery regiments to secure the different routes of the corridor.
As the CPEC project was given final shape, India had last year registered its protest against the presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit-Baltistan near Azad Kashmir, saying that it was unacceptable to India.
According to Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor in Chinese Studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, who has been part of think-tank on Indian policy towards China, the overgrowing presence of Chinese PLA is a cause of worry for India.
“What we know is that China is going to raise three divisions of its PLA under a local name in PoK that will guard the Chinese interests in occupied Kashmir. One needs to understand the game plan of Beijing,” The Times of India quoted Kondapalli as saying.
Though the Indian army has officially maintained complete silence on the issue, they have been constantly updating various intelligence agencies about the presence of PLA troops alongside the Line of Control, sources said.