Pakistan Army Assures Chinese Leadership about the Security of (CPEC)

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif assured Chinese civil and military leadership that his county will provide full security to the ambitious US$46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. During his two-day visit to China  General Raheel Sharif held talks with Premier Li Keqiang, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission Fan Changlong, Ground Force Commander General of the PLA Li Zuocheng and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

According to state run ‘Xinhua’ News Agency Chinese premier Premier Li Keqiang said General Raheel Sharif military-to-military relations have reinforced China-Pakistan ties, especially economic cooperation, calling on both the sides to strengthen high-level contact and deepen exchanges in various fields. The Chinese leader expressed hope that China and Pakistan would increase communication and coordination on global and regional issues to safeguard peace and promote common development and prosperity.

General Raheel Sharif Sharif assured the Chinese premier Premier Li Keqiang that Pakistani army took every possible measure to ensure the safety of Chinese engineers working in Pakistan. Pakistan army appreciates profound friendship between China and Pakistan and expects achievements from the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor and is ready to provide security for cooperation, General added.

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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is facing same sort of threats both in Pakistan and China. In Pakistan many believe that real threat to project are Baluchistan separatists who are fighting against the state backed by India. And after the arrest of Indian spy agency RAW activist Kulbhushan Yadav from Baluchistan these threats are increased. China also fears that Uighur Militants fighting for independence in Xinjiang province can also stand possible hurdles with the support militant networks in Pakistan like Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Hence, Pakistan and China need to work on a joint counterterrorism strategy, and provide support to each other in order to tackle the menace of militancy together. And after the operation Zarb e Azab against the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP), remnants of Al-Qaeda and foreign Militants in tribal areas of Pakistan had ensured the safety of infrastructure projects some how.

Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa, Pakistan’s military spokesman, said through his Twitter Account that troops would be deployed to guard the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – a US$46 billion project that includes railways, roads and pipelines that will connect the northwestern part of China and Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast. “For all CPEC-related projects, the first responder will be the army itself,” Bajwa said in Beijing yesterday.

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Sharing the details of security measures Pakistan’s military spokesman, said these measures included a force of 15,000 troops, in nine battalions, who were dedicated to providing security for Chinese contractors and corridor projects. In addition, in the restive Baluchistan province in the southern reaches of the corridor, local paramilitary forces would help the Pakistani military provide ­security to the projects and ­military engineers would carry out construction, Bajwa added. According to media reports some 12,000 to 13,000 Chinese engineers and laborers are working on the corridor projects in Pakistan and 16,000 to 17,000 more are expected in future.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is considering Game Changer in Pakistan will also grant China quick access to Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. At present it relies on routes through the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia in the troubled South China Sea.

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