Why in news?

  • India on 14th May 2020 opposed a move by Pakistan and China to build a major hydropower plant in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, saying it has shared its concerns regarding such projects with both countries.
  • The Pakistan government on, 13th May 2020, signed a Rs 442-billion contract with a joint venture formed by China Power and the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), a commercial arm of the Pakistani military, for constructing the Diamer-Bhasha dam.
  • Indian Ministry of External Affairs reminded China about India’s claims over the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan under Pakistan’s control.

Details

  • The eight million-acre feet reservoir with a height of 272 metres is set to be the world’s tallest roller compact concrete (RCC) dam.
  • The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that the Gilgit-Baltistan region is part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir that was illegally occupied by Pakistan.
  • The MEA Spokesperson asserted that India’s position is that the entire territory of the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are, and will continue to be an integral and inalienable part of India.
  • India has consistently conveyed protest and shared concerns with both China and Pakistan on all such projects in the Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation.

Diamer Bhasha Dam

  • The Diamer Bhasha Dam (DBD) is being built by Pakistan on Indus river in Gilgit-Baltistan region, its construction was suggested as far back as 1980.
  • While both World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have refused to fund the project due to India’s objections, China has come forward to fund and build the project.

Issues to be seriously considered

  • China’s approach towards transnational rivers has serious ecological implications as the DBD is located in ecologically fragile seismic belt.
  • Projects such as the DBD will enable China to exploit resources under Pakistan’s control and take up projects overseas in times of lowering domestic demand.
  • Such projects being initiated in the PoK region with China’s backing shows that there is an emerging Sino-Pakistan axis on the Indus waters.
  • India’s limited number of projects have been blocked by Pakistan’s repeated challenges in the past.

Click Here to read more about the Gilgit-Balistan Region (1st Article)

-Source: Hindustan Times

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