China to fund Pakistan's dam in PoK under CPECLast updated on Jun 20, 2017, 09:36 pm
Radio Pakistan revealed that China has offered to fund the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam on the Indus basin in Gilgit-Baltistan under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Pakistan had so far been unable to secure funds from the World Bank and the ADB due to India's sovereignty concerns.
Pakistan's Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal had earlier hinted that Pakistan expects Chinese funding for the project
What has happened so far?
The $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam was announced in 2006. The foundation stone was laid in 2011 and the finance plan announced in December 2016.
While World Bank pulled out of the project over Pakistan's reluctance to get a no-objection certificate from India, the Asian Development Bank pulled out in November 2016.
The US had also withdrawn last year after India made its annoyance clear.
How is the dam expected to benefit Pakistan?
The Diamer-Bhasha dam is expected to generate 4500 Megawatt electricity. The dam's reservoir is further expected to play a crucial role in regulating the flow of water to agricultural lands that are frequently affected by erratic weather.
Iqbal, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif's close aide noted that this was a high-priority project, "This water reservoir is most critical for food security in Pakistan."
The larger picture
Water occupies a central place in tensions in the sub-continent.
While Pakistan has vowed to start a nuclear war if India blocks Indus water, China is aggressively damming the Brahmaputra in Tibet, cutting off flow to India.
Till now India has relied on funder's reluctance to stall the project, but it needs to be seen if India can stall the project anymore.