Chinese Troops In PoK: Army Chief

Chinese Troops In PoK: Army Chief

19 September 2012
The Tribune (Chandigarh)


New Delhi: Army Chief General Bikram Singh today contradicted Beijing’s claims that no soldier of the People Liberation Army (PLA) was in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) saying Chinese troops were present there. The Army Chief, however, said the frontier was well guarded. “Chinese soldiers are present in PoK to provide security to its ongoing railways and road projects,” the General said. Earlier this month, Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie on a visit to Delhi had told an English daily that not even a single Chinese soldier was stationed in PoK. “We have already conveyed this to the government. We have our frontiers well guarded,” General Bikram Singh said in response to a specific query whether the presence of Chinese troops in PoK, especially in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, was a matter of concern. In February this year, External Affairs minister SM Krishna had met his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and raised concern over the presence of PLA soldiers in PoK. Indian intelligence agencies have been reporting the presence of around 4,000 Chinese troops across PoK, including in the sensitive Gilgit-Baltistan region that borders Kargil, Drass, Batalik and Turtuk (all located east of the Zoji-La connecting Kashmir with Ladakh). As the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Chinese invasion of India approaches, the Army Chief assured the nation that a repeat of the situation was not possible as enough safeguards were in place along the border. “No it will not be repeated, I am assuring the nation as the Chief of Army Staff that 1962 will not be repeated. The country's borders are secured and the Army will not allow the enemy to cross it,” he said. The General said there were no transgressions. 'The patrols (of India and China) meet and both sides show banners to say that this is our area and both sides disengage and that is an ongoing process,” said General Bikram Singh. On infrastructure development in the North-East, the General said: “There are ongoing projects and they are time-stipulated. We are trying to meet deadlines.” On being asked if he was satisfied with the pace of development work, the General said: “Yeh dil maange more.” 'I am assuring the nation as the Chief of Army Staff that 1962 will not be repeated. The country's borders are secured and the Army will not allow the enemy to cross it.' General Bikram Singh made it clear that Indian troops would not like to move out of the 'strategically important' Siachen Glacier. He termed the glacier as “very important” and said “we must continue to hold it always. These are positions of strategic importance and we have expressed our concern to the government. It’s now for the government to decide.” Pakistan has been pushing for demilitarisation of Siachen while India has asked proper authentication by both sides of the present troop positions on the glacier.