Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

Diamer-Bhasha Dam in Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Diamer-Bhasha Dam

Mains level: India-Pakistan border disputes

Pakistan government has signed a contract with a joint venture of a Chinese state-run firm for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam in the PoK.

Make a note of major dams in India along with the rivers, terrain, major Wildlife sanctuaries and national parks incident to these rivers.

Diamer-Bhasha Dam

  • Diamer-Bhasha Dam is a concreted-filled gravity dam, in the preliminary stages of construction, on the River Indus between Kohistan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Diamer district in Gilgit Baltistan region of PoK.
  • The dam will have a gross storage capacity of 8.1 Million Acre Feet (MAF) and power generation capacity of 4500 MW.
  • The eight Million Acre Feet (MAF) reservoir with 272-metre height will be the tallest roller compact concrete (RCC) dam in the world.
  • It will have a spillway, 14 gates and five outlets for flushing out silt.
  • The diversion system involves two tunnels and a diversion canal — all three having 1 km length each.
  • The bridge — a box girder structure — under the contract will be constructed downstream of the dam structure while the 21MW power plant will be built to meet the energy requirements of the project during construction.

Why is this dam being built?

  • The project is designed to serve as the main storage dam of the country, besides Mangla and Tarbela dams, and its storage would be helpful for alleviating flood losses.
  • The project is estimated to help alleviate acute irrigation shortage in the Indus basin irrigation system caused by progressive siltation of the existing reservoirs.
  • It aims to reduce the intensity, quantum and duration of floods and reduce the magnitude and frequency of floods in the River Indus downstream.

Issues with the Dam

  • The dam is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region which is an Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan.
  • India has consistently conveyed her protest and shared concerns with both China and Pakistan on all such projects in the Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation.
  • In the past too, India has opposed projects jointly taken up by Pakistan and China in PoK as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

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