Pakistan has started working on a $2.4 billion hydroelectric power project on river Jhelum in Pakistan administered Kashmir, ignoring threat from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop water flow from the Indus basin. The 1,124 Megawatt project constructed by Chinaâ€™s Three Gorges Corporation will be largest power project in the region which lies 224 Kilometer from Muzaffarabad. It is expected to be completed by 2023-24.
The Sputnik News said, this hydroelectric project is part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a 3,000 km long network of road, railway and energy infrastructures passing through Kashmir region. Indiaâ€™s reservations on the project have so far gone unheeded to China.
Priyanka Singh, an associate fellow at Institute of Defense Studies said, â€œCurrently, there is little that India can do to stall CPEC except for diplomatically articulating its objections and make it un-implementable. But it is unlikely that diplomatic statements alone will cause the projectâ€™s deferment.â€
Modiâ€™s warning to Pakistan had evoked sharp reaction from Islamabad. Pakistan will not accept Indian aggression in any form, Islamabad responded. Any Indian step for disrupting water flow as upper riparian will pertain to considerable risk of war and hostilities.
The Dawn reported in late January, Pakistanâ€™s two parliamentary committees in a joint resolution asked India to immediately suspend the construction of the Kishanganga and Ratle hydro power projects in Indian administrated Jammu and Kashmir. The two projects are being constructed on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers.
The resolution demanded halt to ongoing construction works till the issue is resolved through the World Bankâ€™s arbitration court. Pakistani lawmakers alleged India of using delaying tactics.
Pakistan has serious reservations over an Indian move to construct 45 to 60 dams on the western rivers.
Reuters quoted former Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi saying â€œWater dispute between two neighbors had reached such alarming proportions that it could even dwarf the Kashmir issueâ€