Chinese in Pakistan to help FWO
ISLAMABAD: Chinese engineers are in Pakistan to help the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) rebuild some portions of the Karakoram Highway, quarters concerned have stated. They said that there was no truth to reports that Chinese personnel in Pakistan, especially in the Northern Areas, were a threat to Indian security.
Earlier, some reports in foreign media had claimed that the presence of Chinese in Gilgit-Baltistan region and Azad Jammu Kashmir could pose a threat to India, which therefore needed to bolster its military. The Northern Indian Army commander, Lt Gen KT Parnaik, had stated at a seminar, “Chinese presence in Gilgit-Baltistan and the Northern Areas is increasing steadily… There are many people who are concerned about the fact that if there was to be hostility between us and Pakistan, what would be the complicity of Chinese. Not only they are in the neighbourhood but the fact is that they are actually present and stationed along the LoC.”
Sources said that the Karakoram Highway was badly damaged in flashfloods and the 2005 earthquake. They said the highway was a joint Sino-Pak project and Chinese had a major role in building it in the first place.
They added that it was wrong to project threat to Indian security on the basis of presence of Chinese engineers in GB and AJK. “The Indian threat perception is misplaced,” they said and added that India was already the biggest buyer of conventional weapons in the world. “Indian decision to recruit more than one lakh soldiers in the next five years for deployment on the Indo-China border and Indian held Kashmir cannot be justified on the account of the presence of some Chinese engineers in Pakistan’s Northern Areas,” said the sources.
It should be noted that India is raising a mountain strike corps and four divisions. Besides, the Indian army has also planned to deploy two independent armoured brigades in Uttarkhand and Ladakh.
Earlier, on June 30, 2006, an MoU was signed between Pakistan and China to rebuild and upgrade the Karakoram Highway, especially its width which will be expanded from 10 metres to 30 metres. The upgraded road will be able to accommodate heavy vehicles and tolerate extreme weather conditions.