India-Afghanistan deal for Sahtoot Dam

India and Afghanistan have inked the deal to build a dam, called Sahtoot dam, in order to supply water to the Kabul City. Following the deal, the prime minister of India called for a ceasefire in Afghanistan in order to end a spike in violence.

Highlights

  • Prime minister Modi expressed his concern over increase in violence in Afghanistan.
  • President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, also stated that both the countries want a terrorism free region.
  • President Ghani sought guarantees for stability in Afghanistan.

About Sahtoot Dam

  • It is a proposed dam in the Kabul river basin.
  • Construction of the dam will provide drinking, irrigation and Environmental water in the Kabul province of Afghanistan.
  • The dam will be completed at the cost of about US$120 to $305 million.
  • This dam will be constructed by India.
  • The design of the dam will be completed by Iranian firm. For this, the ministry of water and power have inked an agreement with the Poyab Company of Iran.
  • The dam will be constructed in order to provide potable water to around 2 million residents of Kabul.
  • It will provide waters to irrigate 4000 hectares of land in Charasiab and Khairabad districts of Kabul.
  • Further, the dam will provide drinking water to a New City at Deh Sabz.
  • Shahtoot dam is the second major dam which will be built by India in Afghanistan. India has also built the Friendship Dam or Salma dam which was inaugurated in June 2016.

India-Afghanistan MoU

In order to start the project, External affairs minister of India, S Jaishankar and the Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar have signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build the Lalandar or Shatoot dam.

Significance of the project

The project is significant for both the countries. It shows the India’s continuing commitment to support Afghanistan. The signing of the agreement becomes more significant in the backdrop of the troubled peace process with the Taliban and the violence that targets journalists, officials and civil society activists across the country. It also shows India’s strong and long-term commitment of the socio-economic development in Afghanistan.

India-Afghanistan Relation

India and Afghanistan are close neighbours and strategic partners. Both the countries have committed for a region free from terrorism and extremism. India also supports the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” peace process to negotiate with the Taliban.

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