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China to build mega-dam for Pakistan despite India’s protest

Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal said today that China is most likely to fund the construction of a multi-billion dollar dam project on Indus River. His statement comes at a time when India has strongly opposed any construction activity in the Indus Basin. India has also opposed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), since it runs through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, which is part of India. India has clearly stated that the CPEC is a threat to its sovereignty.

Since a very long time, Pakistan has been planning to launch several dam projects in the Indus Basin. However, it was not able to secure the funds needed to build these massive dams. Now, as China has launched its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Pakistan has become hopeful that China will fund these mega dam projects. One of the largest planned dams is the $12-$14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam, which, when operational, will generate a staggering 4,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity. It will also be used to provide irrigation water to farmlands.

Meanwhile, India has also fast tracked the construction of several dam projects on its side of Kashmir. The total cost of these dam projects is roughly around $15 billion. However, Pakistan has opposed these dams, saying that these will disrupt vital Indus water flows into Pakistan.

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