Rising stake of China in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir

India has objected to inauguration of the Diamer Bhasha Dam in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK (now officially part of the Union Territory of Ladakh). Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the hydel project on Wednesday. It is funded by China.

This is not the only dam-based power project in PoK that China is funding. This is the third major China-funded dam in PoK since May this year, when military standoff between India and China began along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and elsewhere.

The other two dams are Azad Pattan and Kohala. These dams are on the Jhelum river network. Overall, China is developing five dams – Mahl, Karot and Chakhoti Hattian being the other three – dams on Jhelum. Diamer Bhasha dam is on the Indus river. All these dams are part of the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Chinese activity in PoK is in gross violation of the sovereignty of India and also UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. None of the UN resolutions say PoK belongs to Pakistan. Yet, Pakistan and China have signed agreements on land that does not belong to the either party.

By getting China deeply involved in PoK, Pakistan is only trying to ensure that in any possible event of India taking back PoK, China remains a force for India to deal with.

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