India on Thursday strongly protested against the construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) by Pakistan and China, saying that the project will lead to submergence of large parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
“India strongly protested against the construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam to Pakistan government. It will lead to submergence of a large part of land of Indian Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh. We condemn attempts by Pakistan to bring about material changes in Indian territories under its illegal occupation,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a weekly briefing.
“We have also consistently conveyed our protest and shared concerns with both China and Pakistan on all such projects in Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation where it has no locus standi,” Srivastava added.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is himself expected to visit the Diamer-Bhasha Dam project next week to review construction activities.
The project was marred by a delay of decades due to various contributing factors. However, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government realigned the project prioritising the water and hydropower sectors in its development strategy, according to a Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) statement cited by The News.
Following prompt decision-making by the government and an innovative financial plan by WAPDA to arrange funds for the construction of the project with meagre burden on the national exchequer, the dam will see the light of the day.
After Mohmand Dam, which was started in 2019, Diamer Bhasha Dam is the second mega multi-purpose dam that has been commenced in about a year.
Diamer Bhasha Dam, a vital project for water, food and energy security of Pakistan, is being constructed on the Indus River, 315 kilometres upstream of Tarbela Dam, 180 kilometres downstream of Gilgit, and 40 kilometres downstream of Chilas town.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2028-29.
The project has not only ravaged the natural resources of the illegally occupied territory but also left a large number of homeless and poverty-stricken.