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India protests dam construction in PoK

IANS  New Delhi, September 11, 2009
First Published: 20:30 IST(11/9/2009) | Last Updated: 21:16 IST(11/9/2009)

India on Friday protested against the proposed 7,000 MW Bunji hydroelectric project being built in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir with Chinese assistance.


"The government of India lodged a protest against the construction of (the) project located in a part of Jammu and Kashmir under the illegal occupation of Pakistan,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters in New Delhi.

The ministry lodged the protest with Pakistan's deputy high commissioner Riffat Masood in New Delhi, officials said. India's high commission in Islamabad will also lodge a formal protest with Pakistan's foreign office soon. 

Pakistan and China signed a memorandum of understanding in August for the construction of a dam at Bunji in Astore district in Gilgit-Baltistan, earlier known as the Northern Areas, during President Asif Ali Zardari's Beijing visit.

Earlier, New Delhi had also protested against the construction of the Neelam Jhelum hydropower project and Bhasa dam in what it calls Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, which is referred to as 'Azaad Kashmir' by Islamabad.

The dam, one of the eight hydel projects shortlisted for construction with a capacity of generating 7,000 MW of electricity, has triggered anxieties in India about growing Chinese activities in Pakistani Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir is one of the issues the two neighbours are trying to resolve in their composite dialogue that got suspended by New Delhi in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack last year.  

During his visit to Hang Zhou in Zhejiang province and Guangzhou August 21-24, Zardari sought Chinese participation in the development of hydel, thermal and solar energy projects, irrigation and fisheries and mobile telephone networks. Pakistani and Chinese companies have signed a slew of pacts in these areas. 

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