Azad Pattan Hydropower Project

The Azad Pattan project is a hydropower project that is to be constructed in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. It is to be built on the Jhelum River and will have the capacity to generate 700 MW of hydroelectricity. This is a 1.35 billion USD project that is to be jointly undertaken by China and Pakistan as a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC is a flagsip project of the Chinese government that connects Gwadar Port of Pakistan and Xinjiang of China.

About Azad Pattan Hydropower

It is one of the five hydropower schemes to be built on the Jhelum river. The other four are Kohala, Mahl, Karot and Chakothi Hattian. Of these, Kohala, Azad Pattan and Karot are to be developed under CPEC network. Azad Pattan is to be commissioned by 2024.

It is a run-of the river scheme. Under the run-of-the-river scheme, the river water is diverted from a flowing river and guided down a channel that leads to a generating house.

What are the Concerns of India regarding Azad Pattan?

  • The dam is to be constructed in the region that is under dispute between India and Pakistan. India had also objected the construction of Diamer-Basha Dam across Indus river in Gilgit-Baltistan region.
  • According to India, China and Pakistan are consolidating their presence in the region.
  • The projects being implemented in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir do not follow international norms.
  • These projects provide geopolitical leverage to the Chinese in the western Indian Ocean region.
  • This will strengthen China’s strategy of using its economic power to increase its geopolitical leverage. Earlier the same strategy was used in Iran. China and Iran had gone ahead with the Chabahar rail project without India’s assistance. The countries cited funding delay from India for their move. Chabahar was India’s move to counter China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

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