By Yang Sheng and Chen Qingqing Source: Global Times
China is working to complete the Karot Hydropower Project in Pakistani Kashmir ahead of schedule, and the sponsor of the China Three Gorges South Asia Investment project said this will improve Pakistan’s economy.
Karot Power Company Limited, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges South Asia Investment, owns the Karot Power Station. The company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday that the project will help ease Pakistan’s power shortage and generate local employment.
Pakistan’s energy problem is the main obstacle to economic development. “Even in Islamabad and the capitals in the provinces, rationing power is normal. Some remote regions suffer power outages of up to 12 hours a day,” the company said in the statement.
Earlier this summer, Pakistan suffered a power shortage of over five million kilowatts, the statement said. “Karot Power Station has a capacity of 720 megawatts and China Three Gorges South Asia Investment also has other power projects in Pakistan, including hydro, wind and solar power, which would largely solve Pakistan’s problem.”
“India has repeatedly expressed its concern over the project since the project is located in disputed Kashmir, but it won’t affect cooperation between China and Pakistan, because the ties are unshakable and will not target India,” said Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of International Relations.
“With China’s support and assistance, Pakistan’s power shortage will very likely be solved by 2025, which means a main obstacle to Pakistan’s economic development will be removed,” Hu said.
New Delhi is wary of Chinese investments in neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka, while Beijing is irked by India’s lack of support for its Belt and Road initiative, Bloomberg reported.
China has taken a neutral stance on the Kashmir dispute, but China-India ties hit a low with a dispute over a three-way junction between Bhutan, China’s Tibet and India’s Sikkim, which was resolved with both sides standing down in September, The Straits Times reported.
India has expressed concern over the project, and its excuse is that the power station might affect India’s hydrological environment. But this claim is groundless, Hu stressed. “The station is located to India’s northwest and has nothing to do with rivers in India.”
India also suffers from a power shortage, so it’s jealous of China-Pakistan cooperation, Hu added. “India should abandon its bias and hostility to China’s initiative. If it’s open to cooperation, China would love to help India solve its power shortage as well.”