14:26 GMT13 June 2021
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    China is extremely concerned over the security of its workers constructing the ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through restive Pakistani provinces.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) – Despite heavy security for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, China remains wary of the safety and security of its personnel and commercial interests in Pakistan.

    China is also understood to be concerned over the increasing cost of security for the project.

    The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is in the cross-hairs of separatist groups in Baluchistan and Sindh. As well as voicing opposition to the project, the separatists have also threatened to target the corridor. There are also other Pakistan-based terror groups that pose a threat to the economic corridor.

    Pakistan has ensured the security of both the corridor and the Chinese workers. It has deployed two security persons to safeguard each Chinese worker engaged in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

    In total, the Pakistan government has deployed nearly 15,000 security personnel to safeguard about 7,000 Chinese nationals. Apart from that, Pakistan has also made arrangements to protect coastal areas. These include deploying a division of the Pakistani Air Force to patrol the skies and guard against threats in coastal areas.

    "Due to the continuous high security risk, China does not want to give much focus to the CPEC project. But as China has invested hugely in the CPEC project, there in no chance of backing out although concern exists," Srikanta Kodapalli, Chairman and Professor in the Chinese Studies in the Centre for East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University told Sputnik.

    "Initially, their strategy was to spread economic, military and diplomatic influence not only in Pakistan but in the whole South Asian region. But the changing geopolitical situation and India’s increasing opposition to CPEC could setback China’s plans. In fact, Pakistan’s history of political instability, which is also evident now, is also acting as a deterrent to Chinese plans," Srikanta Kodapalli said.

    The CPEC project connects China’s Xinjiang province and Gwadar Port and is one of the six main corridors of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

    India has serious reservations about the project as it passes through Pakistan Administered Kashmir which India claims as its own territory.


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