India-built dam to provide drinking water in Kabul

India and Afghanistan signed an MoU on Tuesday for construction of the proposed Shatoot dam that India will build to provide safe drinking and irrigation water to Kabul residents. Presiding over the virtual ceremony with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, PM Narendra Modi said no external power can come in the way of India-Afghanistan friendship.

Modi also expressed concern over increasing violence in Afghanistan and the “cowardly manner” in which innocent civilians and journalists were being targeted in Afghanistan. While calling for comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan, he said as close neighbours and strong strategic partners, both India and Afghanistan want to see the region free of extremism and terrorism. Referring to the Afghan peace process, he said unity within the country was important and hoped that a “united Afghanistan” will be capable of dealing with any challenge facing it.

In his remarks, Ghani said India’s development assistance to Afghanistan is iconically marked on the country’s landscape. The MoU for Shatoot dam was signed by foreign minister S Jaishankar and his counterpart Hanif Atmar. The government said the project was a part of the New Development Partnership between India and Afghanistan. “The Lalandar (Shatoot) dam would meet the safe drinking water needs of Kabul city, provide irrigation water to nearby areas, rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network, aid in flood protection and management efforts in the area, and also provide electricity to the region,” said a government statement.

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