New Indian Intelligence Unit Designed to Counter China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

In early-May 2015, Pakistani media reported that the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), had formed a special branch to track — and work to scuttle — the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  Rajinder Khanna, Chief of RAW, is said to be personally supervising the activities of this intelligence unit.

Again, according to Pakistani media, the country’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) service reports that it has evidence of India‘s efforts to establish this new capability.  ISI is persuaded that RAW has designated $300 million for the operations of this unit aimed at undermining the development of CPEC.  They are alleging that RAW is charged with working to inhibit Pakistan‘s acquisition of Western military technology and support systems.  Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is said to be intent on making public his evidence on this alleged activity.

Pakistan and China have become increasingly close, with China investing billions of dollars in Pakistani infrastructure projects.  One of the priorities of CPEC aims to connect the southern Chinese border to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan via an 800-mile Karakoram Highway.   China wants to complete the upgrade of this highway so that it can accommodate 40-foot trucks, and possibly even tanks.  Various energy projects are also envisioned with both coal and green technologies being employed.   These projects are being financed and constructed by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

CPEC is designed to strengthen the economic and strategic ties of these two countries, with which India has had a number of border disputes over the years.  Gwadar port will offer the Chinese navy an outlet near Indian waters as well as the Strait of Hormuz, while the Karakoram Highway will allow Pakistan to transport substantially more military equipment and other heavy materials to its portion of the disputed Kashmir region.  In short, the potential military implications of these projects cannot be overlooked by India.