While China has termed it as a pure commercial interest, India sees more to it.
India watching: China in Balochistan as ISIS grows stronger
By Vicky Nanjappa
India is watching developments in Balochistan with a hawk’s eye. The worry in Balochistan for India is China and there is a considerable amount of intelligence trickling in to suggest that there is enhanced activity by the Chinese in the region.
On one hand the Chinese claim that 100 of its nationals are fighting alongside the ISIS and on the other the ISIS has gradually begun making its mark in Balochistan.
China’s interest in Balochistan?
India had expressed concern when Pakistan had handed over the operation of the Gwadar port to China. The Gwadar port is a port situated on the Arabian Sea in the Balochistan province of Pakistan.
India has been suggesting that this was just a ploy by Pakistan to involve China in such a strategic location. This was aimed at troubling India through China, India had said.
India had gathered concrete evidence from Balochistan that China was going beyond the port project and setting up its interests in Balochistan. The Chinese were also accused by the local people of using might to drive people away.
China has a 15 billion stake on Balochistan. It has not only set up the port, but has also invested in zinc and copper mining and are also setting up an airport.
While China has termed it as a pure commercial interest, India sees more to it. Under the garb of commercial interest they keep tabs on India like they attempted to do in Sri Lanka recently an Indian official claimed.
China has an excuse in the ISIS:
The ISIS after announcing its Afghanistan wing called the Al-Khorasan was quick to set up a base in Balochistan. China worries that its 100 nationals could be unleashed on its interests in Balochistan.
All these 100 persons which China speaks about are the Uighurs from Xinjiang. The Uighurs have been up in arms against the Chinese establishment and in the ISIS now they have found a friend.
The ISIS has made no qualms about its feelings for China and has termed the nation as a ‘sin.” The ISIS would go all out to target both Pakistan and China in Balochistan as well.
The ISIS has already gone on overdrive mode in Balochistan and has been expanding its base in the province which have made both the Chinese and the Pakistanis nervous.
China is all set to use this as an excuse to build up its military capability in Balochistan and Pakistan is not going to bat an eye lid when this happens.
In the long run it affects India a great deal and this coming together of China and Pakistan in Balochistan is not in the larger interest of India.
The ISIS plan for Balochistan:
A secret information report prepared by the Provincial Government of Balochistan states that the ISIS has already recruited over 14000 persons from the Hangu and Kurram agency tribal areas.
The report further states that the ISIS has appealed to groups such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wai Jamat to join them.
Further the report also goes on to state that the ISIS plans on hitting at government installations and other commercial interests in Balochistan.
With China building up a major base which it claims is commercial, the ISIS will look to hit at those installations as it has declared China as a sworn enemy. China would obviously go all out to protect its interests and in the bargain set up stronger bases in Balochistan.
Situation in Balochistan could worsen says India:
With all these developments the situation in Balochistan could worsen say Indian officials.
The Gwadar port issue had not gone down too well with a majority of the Baloch people. The people had claimed that Pakistan was encouraging the Chinese to set shop in Balochistan.
Residents of Balochistan had also accused the Chinese of shelling to drive the local people away from the Dera Bugti area where work was going on.
India says that a legitimate claim made by the people of Balochistan is being thwarted by Pakistan. The people of Balochistan have resisted any move to annexe their province to Pakistan and this fight has been going on for several decades now.
It is unfair on the people of Balochistan that the Pakistani establishment is using the Chinese in this province at such a time.
The latest entrant into the scene is the ISIS and this has only added to the problems of the people in Balochistan, India points out.