China enhances military support to Pakistan along LoC in Kashmir

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Kupwara: Pakistan’s key ally China has been actively bolstering the defence capabilities of the Pakistani army along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir over the past three years which includes the construction of steelhead bunkers and the provision of Unmanned Aerial and Combat Aerial Vehicles, officials said on Wednesday.

Chinese assistance also extends to the installation of highly encrypted communication towers and the laying of underground fibre cables along the LoC.

Moreover, advanced radar systems of Chinese origin, such as the ‘JY’ and ‘HGR’ series, have been deployed to enhance medium and low altitude target detection capabilities, providing crucial intelligence support for army and air defence units, they said.

Additionally, the presence of the SH-15, a 155 mm truck-mounted howitzer gun manufactured by a Chinese firm, has been noticed at various locations along the LoC.

This move is seen as part of efforts to strengthen China’s ties with Pakistan and safeguard Chinese investments in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, particularly related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Though the presence of senior PLA officials at forward posts, as was detected in 2014, was not found, some intercepts suggested that Chinese troops and engineers were setting up infrastructure along the LoC, including building underground bunkers, officials said.

Chinese experts were engaged in tunnel construction in the Leepa Valley of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), signalling preparations for an all-weather road to connect with the Karakoram highway, they said.

This strategic move is linked to Beijing’s ambitious 46-billion-dollar CPEC project, aiming to establish a direct route between Gwadar Port in Pakistan and Xinjiang province in China through the Karakoram highway, an area under the illegal occupation of China.

In 2007, a Chinese telecom company had taken over a Pakistani telecom company and formed China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak) — a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of China Mobile Communications Corporation.

In August 2022, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), while renewing the mobile licence of CMPak (Zong) for PoK, gave permission to expand Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in the region.

While the Indian Army has maintained silence on the matter, intelligence agencies are reportedly being kept informed of the developments.

The continued presence of Chinese military personnel in the region has raised concerns, with India voicing objections to Chinese activities in Gilgit and Baltistan areas in the past.

As tensions persist, India remains vigilant and prepared to thwart any potential threats emanating from across the border, officials said.

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