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India sees red at China-Pak railway station


Swati Vashishtha,CNN-IBN
Jun 02, 2009 at 10:14pm IST

Jaipur: In what could be a latest and one of the biggest threat to India, Pakistan has hired a Chinese company to build an illegal railway station on no man's land near the Indian border at Barmer.

The railway station being built by a Chinese company is not only illegal but is just one of the many moves Beijing is making to unsettle New Delhi.

The railway station of the Munabao-Khokhrapar rail link on which the Thar Express crosses the India-Pak border is one of the signs of friendship between the two countries.

But the makeshift railway station on Pakistani side could become a permanent security threat to India.

When the railway station was built in 2006 to coincide with the reopening of the Munabao-Khokhrapar line, it was against international laws, since it was built 150 meters inside the demarcated no man's land.

Now Pakistan is all set to make the structure permanent and in a double whammy for India, Islamabad has invited a Chinese company to construct the station and that too on the zero line.

Two weeks ago engineers from the Chinese company carried out a survey of the area.

Since the point is higher than the surrounding area, it will enable Pakistan to keep a direct watch on the Indian side and allow it to transport forces and ammunition right up to the zero line in the event of a conflict.

After Mumbai terror attack changed the equation between India and Pakistan, New Delhi is taking the matter very seriously, unlike three years ago.

"The seriousness of the matter I'm sure is being felt at a higher level but on our part we will send a report of the situation on the ground to the concerned ministry, " says Barmer District Magistrate Ravi Jain.

"We'll first take up the matter in the flag meeting. If that doesn't work then we'll stop them, if need be there'll be deployment and we'll take up the matter in a higher level meeting," adds BSF, DIG, Barmer HK Gujjar.

The Indian government says it is already keeping a close watch on the Chinese involvement in various projects of the neighbouring countries.

"There is no shortfall in preparedness from our side in this regard. Chinese influence is not just in Pakistan, but they are trying to develop a port in Sri Lanka and in Myanmar as well. And we are well aware of all these developments. And we are taking steps that this Chinese influence does not pose a threat to our nations," says Minister of State, Defence MM Pallam Raju.

With Indian government remaining silent so far on the illegal makeshift railway station almost on the zero line Pakistan has maintained that it was only meant for carrying out security checks.

But Pakistan's plans of building a permanent railway station there have raised fresh security concerns.

China building a railway station in Pakistan opposite Barmer does increase the threat that already exists.

China already claims Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. India could counter any Chinese military adventurism there by striking at its sea lines of communications in the Indian Ocean especially Chinese energy supplies/

In a bid to counter India, China is also building ports at Sittwe in Myanmar, Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan.

There is heavy Chinese courtship of Maldives, Seychelles, Mozambique and South Africa.

Maritime experts describe this as China's String of Pearls Strategy. If the strategy is successful then the Indian Navy will be forced to change its concept of operations.

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