India lodges protest with Pak | india | Hindustan Times
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India lodges protest with Pak

THE GOVERNMENT on Wednesday called in the Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner Munawwar Bhatti and handed over a formal demarche protesting the construction of a dam on the Indus river in the Northern Areas, saying it would inundate large parts of land in Jammu and Kashmir.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 13:53 IST

THE GOVERNMENT on Wednesday called in the Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner Munawwar Bhatti and handed over a formal demarche protesting the construction of a dam on the Indus river in the Northern Areas, saying it would inundate large parts of land in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The Government of India conveyed through diplomatic channels its protest against the proposed construction of Bhasha dam in the territory that is part of Jammu and Kashmir state", the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. Jammu and Kashmir being an "integral part of India by virtue of its accession to it in 1947", India said the reservoir of this dam would inundate large tracts of land in the northern parts of J&K, all the way up to Chilas.

The dam, to be built in Bhasha village in Gilgit, is due to be constructed over a period of seven years from when Pakistan PM Shaukat Aziz lays the foundation stone "any time now" for the project, planned to generate 4500 MW of electricity. This is the first time India is protesting the construction of the Bhasha Dam, which when completed at a cost of $6.5 billion, will have a storage capacity of 7.3 million acre feet water.

Having been denied a civilian nuclear power cooperation deal by the US, the construction of the dam, in what Pakistan terms "disputed territory" (and Indian claims is part of its territory) is being viewed as an attempt to "needlessly" ratchet up tensions between the two countries.

The dam will affect over 23,000 people in 32 villages of Gilgit and the local population, mostly comprising Shias, have been up in arms in Diamer district, protesting against its construction.

Water war

The dispute
India lodges a formal protest against the construction of a dam on the Indus in the Northern Areas of J&K

At stake
The construction of the dam would inundate large tracts of land, affect 23,000 villagers in Gilgit