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China is helping Pakistan Army build defense infrastructure along Indian borders: Officials

New Delhi, June 27: Indian officials claim that in addition to providing Unmanned Aerial and Combat Aerial Vehicles, setting up communication towers, and constructing underground connections along the Line of Control (LoC), China is helping Pakistan Army in building its defense infrastructure.

The recently produced SH-15, a 155 mm truck-mounted howitzer gun, was reportedly also seen in various locations along the LoC after it was unveiled at the previous Pakistan Day ceremony, according to the officials.

Pakistan has inked a contract with the Chinese company North Industries Group Corporation Limited (Norinco) for the sale of 236 SH-15s, which are known as “shoot and scoot” artillery weapons. The first shipment of SH-15s was delivered in January 2022, according to the London-based Janes Defence magazine.

Although the presence of senior PLA officers at forward posts has not been noted this time, as it was in 2014, intercepted communications show that Chinese troops and engineers have been involved in the establishment of infrastructure, including the building of underground bunkers along the LoC.

The Indian Army has abstain from commenting publicly on the issue but has been providing relevant agencies with intelligence updates.

A ceasefire has been in effect between India and Pakistan since February 25, 2021.

Experts attribute the Chinese military’s presence to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a project valued at $46 billion. The CPEC aims to connect Gwadar Port in Karachi to China’s Xinjiang province via the Karakoram Highway, which passes through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Chinese experts are reportedly involved in tunnel excavation in the Leepa Valley of PoK, indicating preparations for an all-weather road that could serve as an alternate route to the Karakoram Highway.

India has consistently raised objections to Chinese activities in the Gilgit and Baltistan regions. Indian officials assure preparedness to counter any provocative actions from across the border.

These disclosures coincide with discussions Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during his recent state visit to the US about the rising threats of coercion and conflict in the Indo-Pacific.

Through technology transfers and top-notch training, China is also helping Pakistan modernise its armed forces, including its air and naval units. Chinese involvement in Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has also been mentioned in recent reports, prompting worries about the deepening “China-Pak” connection.

Pakistan is actively pursuing military growth to match India’s power despite experiencing economic difficulties and security risks from insurgents it has nurtured outside its borders.

China has made it clear that it is ready to continue engaging in conflicts with India, both in the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean region, because it sees India as its main geopolitical rival in Asia.

The Indian defence community has responded by preparing for a potential “two-front war.”

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