China to Deploy More Marine Corps to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port: Report
China is set to increase the number of its marine corps at oversees ports in a bid to protect its strategic assets in foreign locations. The decision comes amid reports that the Chinese government is pushing very hard to strengthen its naval force.
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The Public Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly plans to double the strength of its marine corps, with two big marine brigades set to be dispatched to the Gwadar port in Pakistan and Djibouti port in Africa.
The Gwadar Port located in Pakistan's Balochistan province is a strategic part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Pakistani government is not leaving anything to chance to safeguard this high-profile infrastructure project, with most of its security being focused on the strategic Gwadar Port.
Several reports from Pakistan suggest that the government is setting up a Special Security Division comprising of 15,000 troops to protect the CPEC as well as Chinese personnel. Islamabad is making these special provisions due to security threats to the CPEC, especially emanating from alleged Indian secretive agents operating on Pakistani soil.
The Djibouti Port, which is an international trade hub, is an equally strategic asset for China. The Chinese government is already engaged in building its naval base in Djibouti port in what is being touted as China's first naval base at oversees location. However, Beijing has stated that its naval base in Djibouti is only meant to protect the international trade route from illegal pirates.
At the recently concluded annual Chinese parliament session, Beijing announced that its military budget would increase only by seven percent this year. Most of it would go for the development of China's navy as the Asian giant steps up its effort to take control of the South China Sea region as well as other maritime challenges across the world.