India has more than one reason to worry at the Line of Control (LoC). Military Intelligence sources have confirmed to DNA that Pakistani troops stationed at the LoC are receiving logistical and technical support from China’s PLA regulars who are stationed in PoK in the garb of engineers and workers. Sources said that they have information indicating that the Pakistani army is receiving “guidance” from PLA engineers. “They are involved in every activity at the LoC and are helping create fresh bunkers across the LoC,” an Intelligence source told DNA.
With “heavy build up” of Pakistani troops across the LoC and reports of continued firing, the Indian armed forces are in a heightened state of alert. Both the army and the air force have deployed their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to gather information and keep a close watch on movements in the LoC region.
Some 11,000 PLA regulars are stationed in PoK since 2010 when Pakistan had sought China’s help following massive landslides in Attabad area, which submerged the strategic Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan with China’s Xinjiang region. Intelligence sources said China has for the past few years been supporting the Pakistani army with arms, infrastructure and money.
In 2011, former army chief General VK Singh had noted with “great concern” the presence of China’s PLA regulars in PoK. The Indian defence establishment has had to factor-in this fact in its calculations, and it has been one of the main reasons behind the proposed defence modernisation programme.
There is a feeling among top officials that Pakistan’s “provocative” behaviour and browbeating is linked to the forthcoming general elections in Pakistan, and serves the purpose of diverting attention from other domestic issues.
There is a feeling, thus, that Pakistan is going to persist with deliberate and unprovoked ceasefire violations.
US State Department Spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, however, disagreed with the suggestion that India and Pakistan are exploiting the situation. “I think we are all for peace, and what’s important is that the governments are talking,” Nuland was reported as saying.
“We have made representations to both governments urging them to work together to determine the best course of action,” Nuland said, “We strongly support the high-level dialogue that they are engaged in. That is the best way to work through these issues, end the violence and move back to where we had been,” she said.
Many feel Pakistan's behaviour should be seen in the light of other developments in the region. There is a feeling that the Pakistani army is emboldened by the increasingly conciliatory approach that the US has been adopting towards Pakistan. On Friday, after his meeting with President Hamid Karzai on the draw down of US troops from Afghanistan, US President Barack Obama said it is “hard to imagine peace and stability in the region” without Pakistani support.