Even as its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is now pulling back front-line troops from the face-off scenes along its disputed boundary with India in Ladakh, China has over the past few weeks stepped up spreading its tentacles in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) areas currently under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
China’s state-owned companies have over the past few weeks committed themselves to building three major hydro-electric projects in J&K areas, which India claims to be its own and accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying.
India is keeping watch on China’s involvement in infrastructure projects in its areas illegally occupied by Pakistan.
“It has already been conveyed to China that the role of its state-owned companies in construction of hydro-electric plants and other infrastructure projects in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan infringes on the sovereignty of India,” a source in New Delhi said.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was present when officials of his Government signed a $ 1.5 billion deal with the China Gezhouba Group Company Limited in a ceremony in Islamabad last Monday for construction of the 700 MW Azad Pattan Hydroelectric Project. China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing, was also present in the ceremony.
The Azad Pattan hydropower plant is proposed to be built on Jhelum River near Sudhanoti in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Khan and Yao were also present in a similar ceremony a few days earlier when Pakistan Government signed a $ 2.4 billion agreement with a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation for construction of the 1124 MW hydropower plant on the Jhelum River itself at Kohala near Muzaffarabad in PoK.
Earlier, the Power Construction Corporation of China, a.k.a. “Power China”, has tied up with the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), a construction farm of Pakistan Army, to float a consortium, which was awarded by Khan Government on May 13 a $ 2.75 billion contract to build the controversial Diamer Bhasha dam on Indus River in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) of Pakistan signed the agreement with the consortium on Wednesday, awarding it the contract to build the main dam of the Diamer Bhasha hydroelectric project and an access bridge. The contract awarded to the consortium of the Power China and the FWO also covers construction of the 21 MW Tangir Hydro-Electric plant, which was envisaged to power the construction of the main 4500 MW Diamer-Bhasha project at a later stage.
New Delhi has since long been opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through the areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh under illegal occupation of Pakistan. The CPEC is one of the flagship projects of China’s ambitious cross-continental Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). New Delhi opposed the BRI, primarily because the CPEC undermined the sovereignty of India.