New Delhi: Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh Wednesday said there were about 4,000 Chinese workers, including some of its army engineers, in Pakistani Kashmir, an issue that has caused tension in ties between New Delhi and Beijing.
“There are certain construction working teams … a large number … around 3,000 to 4,000 people are present including some for security purposes. There are engineer troops … combat engineers. So, in some way they are part of the (China’s) Peoples Liberation Army,” Gen. Singh told reporters here.
Interacting with media persons on the sidelines of the 16th Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa memorial lecture delivered by National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, the army chief’s comments came to queries about the reports alluding to the presence of Chinese military personnel in Pakistani Kashmir.
India has over the last year or so raised the matter with China and has expressed its concerns over the presence of Chinese military personnel in the part of Kashmir that was occupied by Pakistan in 1947.
The statement comes against the backdrop of concerns in India about the presence and engagement of Chinese troops in Pakistani Kashmir, which India considers as its own land.
Reports had suggested that there were 11,000 Chinese troops in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistani Kashmir, but China claimed that there was nothing wrong in its troops presence in an area under Pakistan’s control.
An Indian Army commander of troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir had recently stated that it was a matter of concern that the Chinese were engaged in highway and dam construction in Pakistani Kashmir.