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India, Afghanistan signed MoU for Construction of Lalandar [Shatoot] Dam in Afghanistan

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India, Afghanistan sign MoUOn February 9, 2021, the Central Government has laid the foundation of 2nd dam i.e. Lalandar [Shatoot] Dam, to be built by India in Afghanistan, by signing the virtual Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both nations. It will be constructed on the Kabul river basin which is one of the five river basins of Afghanistan.

  • It was signed by Union Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Mohammad Haneef Atmar in the presence of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and President of Afghanistan, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
  • This project is partially funded by India and is a part of Indo-Afghan New Development Partnership.

Key Points:

–This dam is the follow up of India built “India- Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam]” in Afghanistan which was inaugurated by the PM Narendra Modi and the President Ashraf Ghani in June 2016.

–During the ceremony Afghanistan President thanked India for the delivery of 5,00,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

How will this Dam be beneficial for Afghan Civilization?

The problem of water shortage persists in Afghanistan as there is 60% drop in rain and snowfall in 2018. The Lalandar [Shahtoot] Dam will cater to this water scarcity by holding 146 million cubic meters of potable waters. This will be utilized to provide safe drinking water needs of Kabul City, provide irrigation water to nearby 4,000 hectares of land, rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network, aid in flood protection and management efforts in the area, and also provide electricity to the region.

India-Afghanistan Relationship:

India is committed towards strong and long-term commitment towards the socio-economic development of Afghanistan. Under this, the former has completed more than 400 projects in all 34 provinces of the latter.

  • In 2015, India pledged $2 billion toward the development of various infrastructure and humanitarian projects in Afghanistan
  • The construction of Salma Dam is generating electricity for around 40,000 families while irrigating 80,000 hectares of land. 
  • In November 2020, India announced the Phase-IV of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) in Afghanistan worth USD 80 million (Rs 592 crore), which envisages more than 100 projects. Notably, India’s funding for Afghanistan has reached over USD 3 billion (Rs 22,200 crore) so far.

Afghan-Pakistan issue over Shahtoot dam:

The Kabul river exits Afghan borders and enters Pakistan via the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province before joining the Indus River at Attock. As per Pakistan’s media, the construction of the Shahtoot dam can reduce water flow into Pakistan by as much as 16 to 17%. But these claims are dismissed by Afghanistan.

Recent Related News:

i. On September 14, 2020, India & Afghanistan were elected as Members of the UN Commission on Status of Women, a body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

ii. According to the 8th Edition of ‘Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2020: Measuring the Impact of Terrorism’ released by Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), India with a score of 7.353 is the 8th Most Affected Country in the World due to Terrorism in 2019.Afghanistan (9.592), Iraq (8.682) & Nigeria (8.314) are top 3 countries which are the most affected by Terrorism.

About Afghanistan:
Capital– Kabul
Currency– Afghan afghani