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In a strategic move: Beijing to build Bhasha Dam as part of China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor

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In a strategic move, China has signed a staggering contract worth $5.8 billion for constructing Diamer-Bhasha Dam as part of $60 billion China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC).

China on Friday, May 15, defended its decision to take up a mega-contract to build the dam in Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-Administered Kashmir. The Chinese authorities called it a part of a "mutually beneficial and win-win" bilateral cooperation with Pakistan.

During a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, "China's position on the issue of Kashmir is consistent. China and Pakistan conduct economic cooperation to promote economic development and improve the wellbeing of the local people."

He went on to emphasize that this is mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between the two countries.

Earlier on Thursday, May 14, India lodged a protest with Pakistan for awarding the mega project to China, saying executing such projects in territories under Pakistan's "illegal occupation" was not proper.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, "Our position is consistent and clear that 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."

"We have consistently conveyed our protests and shared concerns with both Pakistan and China on all such projects in the Indian territories under Pakistan's illegal occupation," it added.

China signed Diamer-Bhasha dam agreement amid mounting border tension along India-China border.

On May 9, five Indian and seven Chinese soldiers were injured during a confrontation along the India-China boundary in Sikkim.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the confrontation between the Indian and Chinese troops happened near the Naku La sector a pass at a height of more than 5,000 metres.

"Four Indian soldiers and seven Chinese troops suffered injuries during the confrontation that involved around 150 soldiers," an unnamed officer told the paper, describing the incident as an "aggressive confrontation."

On May 5, the two sides came to blows on the banks of Pangong Lake, where Ladakh meets Tibet, and where the two sides have registered multiple confrontations in recent years.

The May 5 incident erupted along a volatile stretch of the lake where Chinese and Indian perceptions of the Line of Actual Control diverge and overlap. Indian media reports indicate tension "had been building up over time after aggressive patrolling by the Chinese side," and after both countries sent additional troops to reinforce to the area following a confrontation last year.

The Pangong Lake incident would mark at least the third publicly-reported physical confrontation at the same location in four years.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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