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PM holds meeting to discuss China threat
New Delhi/ Beijing, SEPT 1 (IANS/PTI):
Published on 2 Sep. 2010 12:45 AM IST
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Amid reports of China’s deployment of troops in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to review China’s recent posturing and India’s options of dealing with it.
Senior Cabinet ministers, including Defence Minister A. K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna were among those who attended the meeting.
India’s ambassador to China S. Jaishankar briefed the ministers at the meeting that discussed how best to deal with China’s perceived aggressiveness towards issues critical to India’s sovereignty.
The meeting came amid reports that China has deployed about 11,000 troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Jammu and Kashmir which has been held by Pakistan.
The 90-minute meeting discussed the recent denial of a visa to a senior Indian general commanding the northern sector, which includes Jammu and Kashmir which is seen here as an attempt by China to question India’s sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir.
India had put on hold defence exchanges after Beijing’s refusal to allow the visit.
The crucial meeting ended with a consensus among ministers to adopt a firm attitude towards China, specially over issues that question India’s sovereignty over its territory, but agreed that the message should be conveyed in such a manner so as not to upset the larger relationship, sources said.
The meeting also discussed what Krishna described in parliament as Beijing’s “more than normal interests” in the Indian Ocean region.
Meanwhile, rejecting as “fabricated” reports of presence of up to 11,000 Chinese troops in PoK’s Gilgit- Baltistan area, Pakistan’s envoy here has claimed that only a “humanitarian team” from China was in the region to assist the flood victims.
“The story is not true and totally fabricated,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Masood Khan, told the state-run ‘Global Times’ daily.
He was referring to a New York Times report which said that about 7,000 to 11,000 Chinese troops were deployed in the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region, where Pakistan faced a state of rebellion from the local people.
Khan said there were no Chinese troops in the area, but added that “a humanitarian team” from China was currently there to help locals who have suffered due to the devastating floods.
The NYT report attributed the military presence in the region to China’s plans to gain a “grip on the strategic area to ensure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan.”
About the NYT story, the Global Times said “the report obviously rattled nerves in India...” This is the first time that the Chinese media carried the NYT report after it was published on August 28. However, there is no official Chinese reaction so far.
India on Monday said that it was making “independent verification” of the NYT report about presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit-Baltistan region and added that it would be a matter of “serious concern” if it turns out to be true.
Reacting to the NYT report, Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS), told the Global Times that the speculation in the report on Sino-Pakistan cooperation is senseless.

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