New Delhi: – India has bitterly opposed the agreement signed between Pakistan and China, to build the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, on the Indus river in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan occupied Kashmir. India said that Gilgit-Baltistan and other parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, are an integral part of India and warned that such unauthorised projects will not be tolerated inside the Indian border and India will oppose such projects. Indian foreign ministry officials informed that protests have already been registered with Pakistan as well as China.
A hydro-electric project, Diamer-Bhasha Dam, is being built, on the Indus river, by Pakistan in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. On Wednesday, an agreement, worth 442 billion Rupees, was signed between China Power Company and the Frontier Works Organisation, a unit of the Pakistan military. According to the agreement, China will be holding 70% stake in the project and Pakistan will have the remaining 30%. Preparations are being made to build the world’s tallest, Roller Compact Cement (RCC) dam, with a height of 272 feet. Pakistani media informed that the construction of the dam is likely to start within a few weeks.
The project was conceptualised in 1980. Whereas, the project was approved in 2006 when Pervez Musharraf was the President of Pakistan. India had objected even then. International financial organisations like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank had refused to fund the project, given the bitter opposition from India. The World bank had laid down a condition that Pakistan should get a No Objection Certificate from India.
In view of the lack of funds, owing to the declining economy, in 2018, Pakistan had started a donations fund to collect money to build this dam. Last year, Pakistan acquired thousands of acres of land for this dam project. Now China has come to the rescue of Pakistan to build this dam.
Pakistan is attempting to change the status of Gilgit-Baltistan by conducting elections there. Only last week, India has reprimanded Pakistan over this issue and had said that Pakistan is an illegal occupant in the region and should immediately vacate the part of Kashmir under its occupation. This has made both Pakistan and China, very restless.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, which is a part of the ambitious Chinese Belt and Road Initiative project, passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region and the local population also is strongly opposed to the project. Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar had said, a few months ago, that this Indian region will soon be under the Indian rule. China and Pakistan are worried about the same eventuality. China is apprehensive that in such a scenario, all the investments will go down the drain. Against this background, China has entered this agreement with Pakistan. China is trying to increase its presence in this region through this project.