The Pakistan Army has officers stationed at the headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as part of an intelligence-sharing arrangement between the two countries, intelligence sources have reported. Pakistan Liaison Officers have been assigned to the headquarters of China’s Western Theatre Command and Southern Theatre Command. The PLA’s Western Theatre Command is responsible for China’s borders with India, as well as Xinjiang and Tibet. The Western Theatre Command was recently appointed by China under the leadership of General Wang Haijiang.
According to government sources, despite the ongoing disengagement between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control, Chinese troops from this command continue to be deployed in eastern Ladakh. The Southern Theatre Command of the PLA oversees Hong Kong, Macau and other special administrative regions. According to the latest reports, Pakistan Army Colonels have also been posted to the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission – which oversees combat planning, training, and strategy of China’s armed forces – and the Ministry of State Security.
According to China’s state-owned Global Times, the Ministry of State Security is responsible for counterespionage and political security. In addition to defense attaches, around 10 additional Pakistan Army officers are also based at the Pakistan embassy in Beijing for procurement-related projects. According to security sources, the number of Pakistani officers in PLA formations has increased, indicating close coordination between the two countries.
Dawn reported in 2016 that Pakistan had set up a special security division with 9,000 soldiers and 6,000 paramilitary personnel to oversee the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and those involved in it. According to the Pakistan Army, it will raise a division of special forces to guard Chinese citizens and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, describing the CPEC as a symbol of mutual friendship between Pakistan and China.
India is keeping a close eye on the developments, according to a senior government official. ‘Considering the regular assistance that Pakistan’s army provides to CPEC and Chinese nationals, posting a Pakistan liaison officer will help avoid conflicts that may arise between the two countries. In addition, it will help in getting to know each other’s armies and ways of workin’, the official added.