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China tight-lipped on funding Pakistan’s dam in disputed Kashmir

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Beijing: China on Thursday evaded responding to reports of Beijing’s offer to help Islamabad build a mega dam project in Gilgit-Baltistan, part of disputed Kashmir, and bring it under the umbrella of the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“For this specific project and including the construction of dam you mentioned, I am not aware of the details,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

The installed capacity of the proposed project over the Indus river will be over 4,000 mw.

India has been dead against any construction in the Indus Basin in the disputed region through which the China Pakistan Economic Corridor passes.

On Monday, Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority Chairman Muzammil Hussain said China had offered Pakistan help in building the Diamer-Bhasha dam project and integrate it with the $50 billion CPEC.

The construction of the dam is pending for long as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank backed out of funding it, citing its location in disputed Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of Kashmir that is held by Pakistan and claimed by India.

“What I can say is that the CPEC is a new cooperation framework for the two countries to achieve long-term development. This corridor will not only promote bilateral development of two countries, but will also contribute to the development and prosperity in the region,” Geng said.

“We know that there is some concern about the corridor but we keep stressing that this economic corridor is just an economic initiative for cooperation,” he added.

“It targets no third country and is not connected to any sovereign dispute. We hope that the dispute between India and Pakistan could be resolved by consultation and negotiation.”

In May, India boycotted China’s Belt and Road summit, citing its objection to the CPEC.

The CPEC is a key artery of China’s Belt and Road project. It links China’s Kashgar in Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in restive Balochistan.

Under the CPEC, China is building railway links, roads, power plants and ports in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

Despite India’s repeated objections to the project, China maintains that the project has nothing to do with the dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad.

IANS

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