The Chinese military today parried questions over assertions by a Pakistani naval official that PLA will deploy its naval ships, submarines and troops to guard the Gwadar port and the $46 billion CPEC, saying that the two militaries have strategic cooperative partnership.
“About the Gwadar port not long ago the operational ceremony was held at the port and operation of the port will contribute to the regional economic development,” Chinese military spokesman Col Yang Yujun said here referring to its recent launch in which goods brought by lorries from China through Karakoram highway were shipped from the port renovated and managed by China.
“As per the details you may ask the competent authorities about the port cooperation,” he said when asked about reports quoting a Pakistani naval official claiming that China would deploy its naval ships along with Pakistan Navy to safeguard the strategic Gwadar port and trade routes under CPEC.
Pakistan media reports quoted a naval official as saying that the role of maritime forces has increased since the country has made the Gwadar port operational and increased economic activities under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“China would also deploy its naval ships in coordination with Pakistan Navy to safeguard the port and trade under the CPEC,” the unnamed official claimed.
While fending off a response, Yang however said Chinese and Pakistan militaries had close relations for long.
“About China, Pakistan relationship both the countries always had strategic cooperation as partners. For years the two militaries have maintained good exchanges and practical cooperation. The two navies also conducted exchanges of cooperation with port calls of naval ships as well as logistic supplies etc,” he said.
He also parried another question about the Pakistani military official’s remarks that PLA will also deploy a submarine at the Gwadar port and establish a military base there to provide maintenance support for the Chinese naval fleet operating in the Indian Ocean.
“About the construction of Gwadar port and relations between military of China and Pakistan I have already answered,” he said.
He also said he had no information about any plans by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China to establish major bases in Gwadar similar to the one being built at Djibouti in Africa in other parts of the world.
Denying that the Djibouti location in the Indian Ocean where the navy is building a massive facility is a military base, he said it is a supply facility which will be mainly be used for logistic support for PLA troops taking part in escort missions and humanitarian missions in the Gulf of Aden and in waters of Somalia.
“At present the project is progressing smoothly,” he said.
The purpose of the facility is to undertake international responsibility and obligations besides protecting its lawful interests instead of seeking military expansion, Yang said.