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India Af sign accord to build Shahtoot Dam to meet Kabul’s drinking needs

The accord was signed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Afghan counterpart Hanif Atmar after a virtual summit between PM Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Reinforcing its commitment to help Afghanistan stand on its own feet, India today signed a landmark agreement with the war-torn nation for the construction of the nearly $300 Shahtoot (Lalandar) Dam that would meet the safe drinking needs of the Kabul city and provide irrigation water to neighbouring areas.

The accord was signed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Afghan counterpart Hanif Atmar after a virtual summit between PM Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The project is a part of the ‘New Development Partnership’ between India and Afghanistan. The proposed dam on a tributary of the Kabul river would also rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network, aid in flood protection and management efforts in the area, and also provide electricity to the region.

This is the second major dam being built by India in Afghanistan, after the India- Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam], which was inaugurated in June 2016.

“Signing of the MoU on Lalandar (Shahtoot) Dam is a reflection of India’s strong and long-term commitment towards the socio-economic development of Afghanistan and the enduring partnership between our two countries. As a part of our development cooperation with Afghanistan, India has completed more than 400 projects covering all 34 provinces of Afghanistan,” the MEA said.

In his remarks at the summit with the Afghan President, Modi highlighted the civilisational relationship between India and Afghanistan and gave an assurance of India’s continued support for a peaceful, united, stable, prosperous and inclusive Afghanistan.

The PM expressed concern over the increasing violence in Afghanistan, saying both India and Afghanistan wanted to see an end to terrorism and extremism in the region. ”Peace and violence cannot go hand in hand. We support an immediate ceasefire (in Afghanistan),” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, President Ghani said India’s development assistance was iconically marked on the Afghan landscape. “With Shahtoot Dam, Kabul’s snow and rain will be harnessed to quench the thirst of two million citizens of Kabul,” he said.