Beijing: China, which plans to have a rail
link with Pakistan through the strategic Karakoram ranges, has
signed another agreement with the country for building two
highways in the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region in
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir close to the Chinese border.
The agreement was signed during Pakistani President
Asif Ali Zardari`s ongoing six-day visit to China.
The two highways are estimated to be built at the cost of
Rs 45 Lakh, Pakistan`s official APP news agency reported.
Under the agreement, China would meet 85 per cent of the
cost while Pakistan would pay for the remaining 15 per cent.
China would build the 165-km Jaglot-Skardu road
as well as the 135-km-long Thakot-Sazin road in the disputed
The roads, besides the new rail network across the
Karakoram pass into Pakistan, would facilitate free movement
of goods between the two countries.
India has already expressed its concerns over the
proposed rail link.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said in New Delhi
that "we are closely watching what is happening".
Earlier, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju
said on the issue that it is definitely a matter of concern.
"But we are taking our counter measures and we are doing our
China yesterday said the Sino-Pak "strategic"
partnership was not aimed at targeting any third country.
"China and Pakistan are strategic partners enjoying
profound traditional friendship. We have shared deepening
cooperation across the board," Foreign office spokesman Qin
"Our cooperation is traditionally beneficial and not
targeted against any third country. Such cooperation is not
only beneficial for the two countries but also great for the
peace and prosperity of the region," he said.