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Up to 11,000 Chinese troops in occupied Gilgit

September 1, 2010

Tibetan Review
August 29, 2010

Sino-Pakistan strategic alliance has taken on a
new depth with Pakistan having virtually handed
over the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in
Occupied Kashmir to China which has deployed up
to 11,000 troops there, according to the New York
Times and other reports Aug 28. The Baltis are
Tibetan-speaking Muslims with historical and
cultural link with Tibet before its Chinese occupation.

The report said there was a simmering rebellion
against the Pakistani rule and an influx of 7,000
to 11,000 soldiers of the Chinese People's
Liberation Army in the region, which is closed to the world.

Many of the PLA soldiers were said to be expected
to work on a new high-speed railroad. The report
said some were extending the Karakoram Highway,
built to link Xinjiang with Pakistan, while
others were working on dams, expressways and other projects.

"China wants a grip on the strategic area to
assure unfettered road and rail access to the
Gulf through Pakistan", the paper said. The link
up is designed to enable Beijing to transport
cargo and oil tankers from eastern China to the
new Chinese built Pakistani Naval base at
Gawadar, Pasni and Ormara in Balochistan, just east of the Gulf in 48 hours.

The report said mystery surrounds the
construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations,
where even Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would
be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from
Iran to China that would cross the Karakorams
through Gilgit. "But they could be also used for
missiles storage sites," the Indian Express
online Aug 28 quoted the Times as saying.

The PLA construction crews were said to have been
earlier living in temporary encampments and going
home after completing their assignments. But now
they are building a big residential complex,
clearly designed for a long term presence, the report said.
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