One of the senior-most army commanders in the country has dropped a bombshell by declaring that Chinese troops are stationed on the line of control (LoC) between India and Pakistan.
Lt Gen KT Parnaik, who heads the operationally critical Northern Command, warned that China's military presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was too close for India's comfort.
Parnaik said, "We hear many people today who are concerned about the fact that if there were to be hostilities between us and Pakistan what would be the complicity of the Chinese. Not only because they are in the neighbourhood but the fact that they are actually stationed and present on the LoC."
Parnaik was speaking at a seminar in Jammu last week. Top military commanders are usually tight-lipped when it comes to China matters.
Gen Parnaik said China’s links with Pakistan through PoK facilitated quicker deployment of Pakistani forces to complement its communist neighbour’s military operations, outflanking India and jeopardising its security. "It poses military challenges to India and not only along the Sino-Indian border but also along the LoC," Parnaik said.
The possibility of China and Pakistan joining forces in India's farthest frontiers, illegally occupied by the two neighbours, would have “direct military implications” for New Delhi, a defence ministry report had warned two years back. The ministry’s annual report for 2008-09 had alerted against the possibility of China “enhancing connectivity” with Pakistan through disputed territories in J&K, including PoK.
Parnaik said, "The Chinese links with Pakistan through PoK lend strength to the China-Pakistan nexus that has been of great security concern for us. It jeopardises our regional and strategic interest in the long run, the Chinese footprints are too close for comfort."
The 1962 India-China war ended with China seizing some 38,000 sq km of Indian territory in Aksai Chin in the eastern-most fringes of J&K. Pakistan went on to unilaterally and illegally cede another 5,120 km of territory in northern Kashmir to China under a 1963 pact.