Chinese presence in PoK a cause of concern: Parnaik14 May 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: A senior Army Commander today said there is a considerable Chinese presence in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), terming it a 'cause of concern'. 'There is a considerable amount of Chinese presence in PoK,' General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Army’s Northern Command Lt General K T Parnaik told reporters here. He said the Army has been officially informed that the Chinese presence in areas close to Line-of-Control was of engineers and workers for infrastructure development. 'Now there presence is mainly because of infrastructure development. We are aware that the Chinese are assisting in construction of a highway...A large number of dams and infrastructure projects have been developed by the Chinese in PoK as well as the northern areas. These areas are very close to the LoC,' Parnaik said. The GOC-in-C was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day 'Army Mela' being held at the Regimental Centre of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, presided by Governor N N Vohra. Parnaik said 'Chinese presence in the neighbourhood has been a cause of concern.' 'Officially we are told they are engineers and workers, and as of now that is how it stands. Whether they are workers or they are PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) soldiers, I would not want to comment on that as yet,' he said. The Army today said it has given its recommendations on the applicability of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the State to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and is yet to get a response. 'The committees gave their recommendations to the Chief Minister and thereafter we have not heard anything about this issue as yet,' Lt Gen Parnaik said. Jammu and Kashmir last year formed two committees to review the applicability of AFSPA in the State. The two committees were headed by General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar based 15 Corps and General Officer Commanding of Nagorta-based 16 Corps. Parnaik said one of the recommendations included that 'time was not ripe' for removing AFSPA from the State. 'This was not the only recommendation...There were host of issues spelled out to try and clarify why AFSPA is required in J&K in the larger interest of security,' he said. The Army Commander said that unless the 'terrorist infrastructure' across the Line of Control and in the Valley is dismantled, 'we cannot have a sense of lasting peace'. Lt Gen Parnaik said Pakistan may sneak in more militants into J&K to divert attention from its 'internal problems' after the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. 'It is quite likely that Pakistan under pressure, because of so many questions being asked (about Osama), could adopt a strategy of diverting attention which they have always done, he said. He said as one of the tactic, Pakistan can send an increasing number of militants to State. 'And one of the ways is to push in more people (militants) into State so that the attention gets diverted from their internal problems to external areas,' Lt Gen Parnaik said. The senior Army Commander, however, said it is 'not likely' there will be any 'direct immediate fallout' of Bin Laden killing on India. Lt Gen Parnaik said a large number of attempts by militants to infiltrate into this side have been made since last month. 'To the best of our knowledge they have not succeeded in infiltrating as yet. There are reports of few groups having infiltrated already, but they will have to be confirmed on ground by us as well as by other security and intelligence agencies,' he said. Lt Gen Parnaik said the rehabilitation policy formed by Omar Abdullah-led Government for militants in PoK who want to renounce violence and return home was a 'good policy'. 'We feel this is a good policy. After all these are our people who have been misled and who have been staying in Pakistan and are carrying out terrorist activity for too long,' the Army Commander said. He said 'calling back' these people and rehabilitating them here will prove to be 'a good measure'. 'In fact, it will call Pakistan's bluff because they keep saying they have nothing to do (with Kashmir) except for moral and diplomatic support. It just shows that they have been involved for too long,' he said.