15 March 2016

Pak raises three more brigades, allows China on its territory

Mar 12, 2016,

Move comes under garb of protecting $46-billion Chinese investment, Indian security establishment raises concern with govt
In this file photo taken on April 20, 2015, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif receives Chinese President Xi Jinping at Nur Khan airbase in Islamabad as Xi arrives for launch of $45-billion economic corridor between two countries. AP/PTI
Ajay Banerjee, Tribune News Service
Indian security establishment has warned the government on how Pakistan has raised three additional brigades of its Army complete with artillery and helicopter support and allowed Chinese troops on its soil under the garb of protecting the China-funded $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Pakistan Army Brigades are under a Special Security Division (SSD) commanded by a Major General-level officer and translate into some 15,000 men, of which 5,000 belong to the special services group (SSG) trained in counter-terrorism operations.
This is backed by permission granted by Pakistan to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China to patrol Beijing’s economic interests under the CPEC, the Indian security establishment has told the government.
The number of PLA troops stationed or visiting Pakistan or Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was still ambiguous as both countries have open road route. The PLA can just motor down the existing Karokaram highway. 
In April last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the CPEC in Islamabad with agreements on pipelines, power plants and other projects.
Xi had then sought security for the CPEC and it was promised by Pakistan. Now, the brigades has been raised and deployed to protect Chinese engineers and also the route between Gwadar and Xinjiang. These have rapid movability like helicopters. The troops carry small arms besides medium guns and artillery weapons.
In New Delhi, the fear is that PLA could use Pakistan soil to stage an offensive against India.
The CPEC includes a high-speed rail and road connection between China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan port city of Gwadar (west of Karachi). This will be backed by a string of oil and gas pipelines that will allow China to unload its energy requirement at the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar and take them directly through the pipelines circumventing the longer route via the Straits of Mallaca (dominated by India) and the contentious South China Sea.
Pakistan is facing some problem PoK and also in Gilgit-Baltistan where local population have protested against the CPEC in Muzaffarbad and also in Gilgit. The local police had quelled these voices.

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