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China Forks Out $2.4 Bln on Hydel Power Project on Pakistani Side of Kashmir Amid Tension With India

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Ahsan Saeed / Keran, Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan A view of Neelum River in Keran, Neelum Valley, where Indian Kashmir is on the left side while Pakistani Kashmir is on the right
 A view of Neelum River in Keran, Neelum Valley, where Indian Kashmir is on the left side while Pakistani Kashmir is on the right - Sputnik International
New Delhi (Sputnik): In November 2019, Pakistan and China signed a number of projects under the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including the Gwadar Master Plan. Pakistan sought $9 billion from China to finance the Main Railway Line (ML-1) and other infrastructure projects.

The Pakistani government has announced that the Tripartite Agreement signing ceremony for the Kohala Hydel Power Project will be held in the country today.

It was announced by Lt. Gen (Retd.) Asim Saleem Bajwa, special assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Imran Khan on information and broadcasting, while describing it a historic day for the country.

He said the project is the largest power sector investment of $2.4 billion in a single independent power producer (IPP). 

“With the clear direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan to expedite the China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, all stakeholders worked hard to bring this day”, Bajwa tweeted.  

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship infrastructure-related project conceived by Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of Beijing's expanded multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that aims to create more efficient commercial links between the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Bajwa is also the chairman of the CPEC authority. 

Since last year, the work on the CPEC-funded Kohala Hydropower Project has been in jeopardy as the Chinese contractor was demobilised following a controversy over downstream environmental flows.

The 1,124MW (megawatt) Kohala Hydropower Project, is being built on the Jhelum River on the Pakistani side of Kashmir under CPEC. It has been awarded to the Kohala Hydropower Company Ltd (KHCL), a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC).

The development comes days after India started a broadcast of weather-related information to the people of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said this has changed the “temperature” in the neighbouring country.

"Jammu and Kashmir’s development is our priority. Our effort in the next five years will be to change its face so much that people of PoK will feel envious. They will wish that if they were part of India, their fate too would have changed”, Rajnath Singh said.

The signing of the Hydel project comes at a time when India and China have been involved in high-level military talks to disengage from the Galvan Valley in the Ladakh region, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed on 15 June in a violent clash with the Chinese Army.

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