China to expand size of its Private Military Companies in Central Asia

Increase in Taliban insurgencies and the danger that it will seek to expand its influence into Central Asia, either by direct incursions or as a role model for local radicals--has refocused China's attention and changed its calculations as well as those of the Central Asian governments.


ANI | Beijing | Updated: 26-07-2021 19:38 IST | Created: 26-07-2021 19:38 IST
China to expand size of its Private Military Companies in Central Asia
Representative Image. Image Credit: ANI
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Increase in Taliban insurgencies and the danger that it will seek to expand its influence into Central Asia, either by direct incursions or as a role model for local radicals--has refocused China's attention and changed its calculations as well as those of the Central Asian governments. Beijing has planned to expand the size of its Private Military Companies (PMCs) which have been working as a shield to protect China's construction projects across Central Asia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a recent swing through Central Asia, told regional leaders that Beijing's reliance on imported PMCs to guard local strategic infrastructure will be an important new form of security assistance to them against any threat from the outside. This expanded Chinese activity inevitably challenges other players in the region, including the Russian Federation, Turkey and the US, The Jamestown think tank reported. Wang also stressed Beijing's desire to provide the region with both 'traditional' and 'non-traditional' forms of security assistance but the idea behind this desire is to significantly increase the number of PMCs in the region, not just to protect Chinese assets but also to provide training and even leadership to the militaries of the Central Asian states.

China has been remarkably cautious about dispatching private military companies, but Beijing may have adopted this posture because of the rising tide of 'anti-Chinese' attitudes in many parts of Central Asia, including most prominently Kyrgyzstan," The Jamestown think tank reported citing Stanislav Pritchin, a senior researcher at the Moscow Center for Post-Soviet Research. "Beijing did not send PMCs to Turkmenistan in 2015-2016 when Ashgabat faced difficulties with Afghan militants on the border," Pritchin said.

Even Moscow is concerned about the Chinese growing presence in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, two weak states where even a small presence of such paramilitary forces could play an outsized role in the domestic and foreign policies of the local governments. For the last several years, China has made use of these PMCs to guard Chinese industrial sites and transportation networks that Beijing views as essential to its Belt and Road Initiative project. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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