China eyes military bases in Pakistan
Courtesy: The Economic Times
BEIJING: China has signalled it wants to go the US way and set up military bases overseas, possibly starting with Pakistan. The obvious purpose of creating PLA bases in Pakistan would be to exert pressure on India as well as counter US influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
‘‘It is baseless to say that we will not set up any military bases in future because we have never sent troops abroad,’’ said an article posted on a Chinese government
website. “It is our right,’’ the article said, suggesting it would be done in the neighbourhood, possibly Pakistan.
‘‘As for the military aspect, we should be able to conduct the retaliatory attack within the country or at the neighbouring area of our potential enemies. We should also be able to put pressure on the potential enemies’ overseas interests,’’ said the posting by well-known columnist Shen Dingli. Comments such as these in China indicate official endorsement, more so when they appear on a website run directly by the government, unlike the websites of People’s Daily or the China Daily, controlled by stateowned companies.
A military base in Pakistan would also help China keep a check on Muslim Uighur separatists fighting for independence in its western region of Xingjian, which borders the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Beijing recently signed a pact with the local government of NWFP to keep a close watch on Uighur ultras.
‘‘I have felt for some time that China might one day build a military base in India’s neighbourhood. China built the Gwadar port in Pakistan and is broadening the Karakoram highway. These facilities can always be put to military use when the need arises,’’ said Ramesh V Phadke, advisor to the Indian government-run think tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Chinese government website talks of Beijing’s ‘right’ to set up bases abroad Such comments are usually put on Chinese sites only after official endorsement This could be a move to counter US influence in Af-Pak region It’ll help China keep tabs on Uighur rebels in Xingjian, bordering NWFP Beijing looking at military protection business too.
29 Jan 2010, 0944 hrs IST, Saibal Dasgupta, TNN