China has no plans to establish military bases in Pakistan


LAHORE: Although a Pakistani foreign office spokesman has expressed ignorance about any Chinese move to establish military bases in Pakistan, well informed military sources in Rawalpindi say Beijing only desires to have military presence in the NWFP to keep a check on Muslim Uighur separatists striving for an independent state in its western region of Xingjian and presently operating from the Pakistani soil.

“It is baseless to say that we will not set up any military bases in future because we have never sent troops abroad,” an article published on an official Chinese government website said on January 28, 2010. “It is our right,” the article said and suggested that 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,” the article added.

Asked to comment on the report, a foreign office spokesman in Islamabad said Pakistan and China have long-standing strategic ties, dating back five decades, and no relationship between two sovereign states is as unique and durable as that between the two. But he expressed his ignorance about any Chinese desire or initiative to set up military bases in Pakistan to counter either the Indians or the Americans in the region. However, well informed military circles in the garrison town of Rawalpindi say that Beijing has already expressed its desire to Islamabad to have military presence in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan which borders the troubled Chinese province of Xingjian. They reminded that China has recently signed an agreement with the Awami National Party-led provincial government of the NWFP to keep a close watch on the separatist elements of Uighur ultras.

The military sources added that groaning under rising pressure from China, the Pakistani authorities have already extradited to Beijing ten militants of the pro-independence Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) who were arrested from the NWFP. The sources said they were extradited to Beijing following the Chinese President Hu Jintao’s request to Islamabad for taking stern steps against the fugitive Chinese militants hiding in Pakistan and running terrorist activities in China. President Hu had actually expressed his concerns over the presence of the ETIM in the Pakistani tribal areas, saying they might threaten the security of over 5,000 Chinese nationals working on numerous development projects in Pakistan. In the wake of these developments, the Pakistani military circles say, Beijing has requested Islamabad to allow it military presence at a limited scale in the NWFP, as had been the case with the Americans, so that it could keep a close watch on the Chinese separatist elements. To a question, the military circles in Rawalpindi said the Chinese desire to have military presence in the NWFP should not be painted as an attempt to establish Chinese military bases in Pakistan. They pointed out that China does not have any military bases outside its territory unlike the United States.

Comments are closed.


Discover more from Middle East Transparent

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading