●700 MW Azad Pattan hydel power project in PoK
•Recently, Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the 700 MW Azad Pattan hydel power project on the Jhelum river in Sudhnoti district of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
[The 1.5-billion USD project is under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).]
•The Azad Pattan project is one of five hydropower schemes on the Jhelum, the other four are
Chakothi Hattian and
•It will be developed on the ‘Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT)’ model.
It is expected to be commissioned by 2024.
[The project will be transferred to the government of Pakistan after 30 years.]
•India has protested the construction of dams and other infrastructure in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, which are territories claimed by it as part of Jammu & Kashmir.
•The signing of the Hydel project comes at a time when India and China have been involved in military conflicts following the Galwan Valley incident in the Ladakh region.
•Through these projects, China and Pakistan have been consolidating their presence in the Indian region.
•Chabahar Rail Project: Recently, Iran along with China has gone ahead with the construction of the Chabahar rail project without India’s assistance citing funding delay.
•Chabahar has been considered as India’s strategic response to counter China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
•These projects do not follow the principles of openness, transparency and financial responsibility given by the International agencies.
•Security Concerns: China may use its economic power to increase its geopolitical leverage as these projects give a hold to China in the western Indian Ocean with the Gwadar port, located near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
•The Strait of Hormuz is a vulnerable point for India, which sources more than 60% of its oil supplies from the Middle East.