India’s diplomatic efforts to highlight the facts that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan are part of our country and Pakistan is illegally occupying the Indian territory is yielding results. Recently, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had reiterated this while issuing visa to a medical patient from PoK.
Even as Pakistan is trying to seek investment in energy and infrastructure projects in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan, there is rising reluctance from international financial institutions and countries to invest in these disputed areas. This is because a cloud of doubt is hanging over the economic feasibility of proposed projects following an increased international understanding of the legal status of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
In addition, most of the terror infrastructures in Pakistan are also based out of PoK, which is another cause reluctance of the countries and the financial institutions for investment in the areas.
According to an India Today report, South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Company Limited is reconsidering its investment plan in the proposed 500 MW Chakothi Hattian Hydropower Project in Muzaffarabad’s Jhelum area in PoK. Further, reports suggest that other Korean-financed ventures in the region like Kohala Hydropower project may also be stalled.
In addition, financiers such as the Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation and Exim Bank of Korea have also expressed their inability to back the project.
“It is a very good and encouraging news that countries are receptive to concerns that India has,” former foreign secretary Shyam Saran was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Asian Development Bank had refused to fund a proposed $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam, which is located in PoK on the Indus river. Since its inception of the project in 2012, several financiers have backed out.
The latest reluctance among investors to invest in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan came after India strongly objected to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through the Indian territory currently under illegal occupation of Pakistan. India’s objection to CPEC has brought the legal position of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan to the fore once again.
It could be noted that PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan are not only disputed territory, even Pakistani laws do not give them the status of sovereign territory.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier made it clear that PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan are very much a part of Jammu & Kashmir. A 1994 resolution passed in Indian Parliament acknowledges the fact that PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan as integral part of India.