China may share intelligence on J&K, northeast
24 January 2002
Chennai: As the war against terrorism begins to realign political equations in the region, China has agreed to look at sharing intelligence with India on terrorism in Kashmir and insurgency in the northeast, highly placed government sources here said. According to sources, China has an impressive data base on extremist activity, especially on India''s northeast provinces. It is keen on acquiring information on the cross- border unrest by ethnic Uighurs in its western Xinjiang province. China, the sources said, expressed its inclination to share intelligence with India during the recent visit to the country by its Premier, Zhu Rongji. Both sides have agreed to establish a working group on counter-terrorism during this visit. China is seeking more information on Uighur extremists to ensure that its Xinjiang province that is vital for promoting its long-term developmental plans remains stable. Keen on tapping the Central Asian and domestic oil and gas reserves in the region, China sees Xinjiang as the vital transport corridor to transfer oil and gas to its economic hub of Shanghai through a network of pipelines. The main pipeline from west to east, according to the energy plan revealed in last year''s National People''s Congress, will run a distance of 4,200 km. In India''s case, improved intelligence can help ease the pressure on its security forces that have been ''locked up'' in the north-east. A reduction of tension in this area can help in the redeployment of these forces to other trouble spots, if required. Already, with China maintaining ''peace and tranquility'' along the Sino-Indian frontier, India, after the December 13 attack on Parliament, managed to switch troops from its eastern frontiers to the northern and western borders facing Pakistan. India is especially concerned about terrorist activity along the strategic Siliguri corridor. The 40 km. stretch that is surrounded by Nepal, Bangladesh and is not far from the Chinese border connects the entire North-East to the rest of India. The Chinese intention to share intelligence, follows the growing profile of the United States-its possible long term strategic competitor-in the region. China, the sources said, is apprehensive about the U.S. presence in its neighbouring countries of Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. Besides, concerned about growing ties between India and the United States, Beijing now appears to be more inclined to actively engage New Delhi, they say.