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Pakistan sign Hydro deal with China for CPEC Project

Pakistan has signed a hydropower deal with a Chinese company as part of the country’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan hailed the new project and asserted that “CPEC was confined to road connectivity, but now other aspects of the corridor are being unfolded.”

The hydropower project will be carried out on river Jhelum in Sadhanoti district in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(PoK) and is set to be completed by 2026.

Imran said the “It (CPEC) is a project that will take Pakistan to new heights,” while adding, “CPEC project will take Pakistan to the very top.”

The Pakistan prime minister had earlier vowed that his government will complete the CPEC project “at any cost”. Imran had earlier called the CPEC project a “game-changer”.

The US has consistently been against the CPEC project asserting that the multi-billion dollar project will, in the end, take a toll on Pakistan’s economy due to rising debt.

CPEC is a multi-billion project spanning road, rail and waterways which seeks to connect major trading ports from Asia and Africa linking it all the way to Europe. China has also linked Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

The project reportedly costs over $60 billion, however, India has been against the project since several roadways cuts across PoK.

Last month China had said that 20 per cent of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was “seriously affected” due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

China has given large loans to companies belonging to other countries however their inability to pay the debts has reportedly slowed several projects under the BRI. However, Chinese officials have said there have been no reports of projects being cancelled amid the pandemic.

China had said about “40 per cent of projects have seen little adverse impact, and another 30-40 per cent have been somewhat affected”.

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