One of India’s top generals has expressed concerns about China’ military presence in the Pakistan-administered portion of Kashmir.
During a security meeting in the Indian city of Jammu Wednesday, the chief of the army’s Northern Command Lieutenant-General K.T. Parnaik said that Chinese forces are operating in the Pakistani portion of Kashmir and their presence there is increasing steadily.
General Parnaik said Beijing is helping Islamabad build roads, bridges and a hydroelectric project in the disputed Himalayan region. He warned that China’s activities in Pakistani Kashmir, as well as in northern border areas controlled by China, enhance Pakistan’s ability to flank India in the event of military conflict.
But External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna offered reassurances by saying that New Delhi closely monitors all developments along its border to ensure the safety and security of the Indian people.
Parnaik says India has reason to be concerned. China and Pakistan are close strategic partners and according to media reports, up to 11,000 Chinese troops are stationed in Pakistani Kashmir.
However, Beijing rejects Indian sovereignty over its northeastern state of Arunchal Pradesh, describing it on its official maps as “Southern Tibet.”
General Parnaik also warned of Chinese encroachment at sea in the form of ever growing naval base treaties with India’s neighbors.
Security issues are likely to be on top of the agenda during next week’s summit meeting at a Chinese resort between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh.