China to construct power project under CPEC
China under the multi-billion-dollar CPEC will set up a 1,124-megawatt power project in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir despite India's objection to it, according to a media report on 2 June 2020. The details of the Kohala hydropower project was presented in the 127th meeting of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) chaired by Energy Minister Omar Ayub. The meeting was informed that a tripartite agreement has been finalised among China's Three Gorges Corporation, the authorities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the PPIB to implement the 1,124-megawatt Kohala hydroelectric power project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.
- The project will be built on the Jhelum River and aims at annually providing more than five billion units of clean and low-cost electricity for consumers in Pakistan.
- The paper further reported that this marks one of the largest investments of USD 2.4 billion in an independent power producer (IPP) in the region.
- The 3,000-km-long CEPC is aimed at connecting China and Pakistan with rail, road, pipelines and optical cable fiber networks.
- It connects China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan Gwadar port, providing access to China to the Arabian Sea. The CPEC passes through PoK, over which India has conveyed its protests to China.
- Last month, India protested to Pakistan awarding a mega contract to build a dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying carrying out of such projects in territories under Pakistan's illegal occupation was not proper.
- The Pakistan government has signed a whopping Rs 442 billion contract with a joint venture of a Chinese state-run firm and a commercial arm of Pakistan's powerful military for construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam.
- Our position is consistent and clear that the entire territory of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are and will continue to be integral and inalienable part of India, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
- The CPEC project was intended to reduce oil and gas routes from the Middle East by thousands of miles, a way to cut overland into western China instead of going thousands of miles around South Asia and Southeast Asia by ship.
- Pakistan was supposed to get 2.3 million jobs and a 2.5 percentage-point boost to its gross domestic product.
- The deal, negotiated by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and touted in a 2017 communique by his successor Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after Sharif was jailed on corruption charges, called for the corridor to start taking shape by 2020. It was described as a pilot project, a model for Belt and Road countries around the world.
- Pakistan, long allied with China to counter the regional weight of India, wanted help developing its mineral-rich but poorest and most restive province.
- It also wanted to quell separatists in the Baloch Liberation Army who not only attacked the Pearl-Continental last year but also killed four people at the Chinese consulate in Karachi in 2018.
- The militant group was seeking to halt plans they believed would enable Pakistan’s government to take more resources from the area, rather than aid residents. Further attacks in recent months have killed more than a dozen Pakistani soldiers and security personnel.