Vastavam web: China today avoided commenting on claims in the Pakistani media that Beijing will fund the USD 14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and has agreed to include the project in the controversial China- Pakistan Economic Corridor which India is opposed to.”For this specific project and including the construction of dam you mentioned, I am not aware of the details,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here while responding to a question on reports from Pakistan that Beijing has agreed to include the project as part of the USD 50 billion CPEC. While evading a response, Geng, however put up a strong defence of the CPEC, playing down India’s concerns over violation of sovereignty.
“What I can say is that 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,” he said.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,” he reiterated. Geng skirted a direct response to the dam issue apparently to avoid a strong reaction from India which has already opposed the CPEC as it passes through PoK.
Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) chairman Muzammil Hussain was quoted by the Pakistani media as saying that “the project with 4,500 MW installed capacity has been pending since long due to the fact that earlier in 2006, Asian Development Bank committed to fund the project, however, after 10 years, it declined to fund the project saying it was located in disputed territory”.Iqbal was quoted as saying that a Chinese company along with a local partner would build the dam over a 10-year period. Work should begin in the next financial year, he said.The project to be built on the river Indus was expected to generate 4,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity, and a vast new reservoir would regulate the flow of water to farmland.