the Dragon is imbued with imperialist designs. It has started prowling in Gilgit-Baltistan region —constitutionally and legally a part of India— in north-west corner of the undivided state of Jammu and Kashmir. China wants India to cut to size. In fact, Pakistan, which is in de facto control of the region, has handed it over to China.
There are confirmed reports that China has deployed an infantry battalion of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), at the Khunjerab pass (15,397-feet) on the Karakoram highway. The pretext for deployment is ‘security of its workers’, engaged in building a railroad, which will connect Xinjiang to the port of Gwadar in Balochistan, Pakistan.
China’s ‘aggressive approach’ should be seen in the vertex of its close proximity to Pakistan. Inter alia, the two countries want to keep India ‘boxed in’. China has gone crazy for its ‘new sense of power’. It is suffering from narcissism. Beijing has ‘warned’ the international community that to be ‘friendly’ with China, due ‘deference’ must be shown to its ‘core interests’, which include sovereignty over Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang
But it was Nehru who overlooked Chinese trespasses into India, leading to 1962 war with China. According to noted writer D R Mankekar, Nehru was “carried away by his own crusading zeal for world peace and romanticism about peaceful co-existence with China. ….He accommodated Chinese whims …until one bleak autumn morning he was rudely awakened to find that he was not dealing with an honest friend but with a cunning, unscrupulous, cynical foe.”
The joint China-Pakistan project to link Kashgar in Xinjiang to Havelian near Rawalpindi in Pakistan through the Khunjerab Pass in the Karakoram Range through a rail corridor is indeed ambitious (Rupeenews.com, July 7). It has been noted that the rail track running nearly 700 kilometers "will transform the geopolitics of western China and the subcontinent" and "while the technical aspects of the trans-Karakoram rail link are daunting, there is no denying the Chinese audacity in embracing projects that are grand in conception, challenging in their execution, and consequential in their impact"
China is also concerned about the insurgency in the restive Baluchistan province. Chinese engineers working on infrastructure projects have been kidnapped in the past. In a recent attack in July 2010, unidentified assailants fired rockets at a five -star hotel where Chinese engineers working on an oil refinery were staying (Daily Times, July 8). Significantly, the rockets were fired "from the sea" and Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), an insurgent group, claimed responsibility for the attack and warned foreign investors not to invest in Balochistan.
Yet, there are several challenges for Beijing in its drive to build infrastructure in POK. While China may be able to overcome the tyranny of geography and absorb the financial cost of infrastructure projects, Islamabad’s apparent inability to control Islamic groups, and above all the unpredictability of the security situation, as well as the impact of climate change in the Himalayas, will be daunting—even for the Chinese.