AT-KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Afghan-India Friendship Dam [Salma Dam] today (Saturday) in western Herat province.
President Ghani flew to Herat Friday to meet provincial officials to disuses preparation for the inauguration of the dam.
During meeting with provincial officials, Ghani congratulated the people of Afghanistan on completion of the dam project.
Indian prime minister is scheduled to land Herat today.
“Tomorrow (Saturday), I will visit Afghanistan, where I will join the inauguration of Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam in Herat,” Indian primer Modi said in his Twitter account.
Modi would also meet President Ghani, in which both leaders would talk on current situation of Afghanistan and boosting bilateral cooperation.
Exaction of the dam project represents culmination of years of hard work by about 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers and other professionals in difficult conditions, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
While briefing newsmen in Delhi on Thursday, he said the 300 million project also reflected of India’s continued commitment to Afghanistan’s reconstruction, which will irrigate 44,000 hectares of lands.
“India is consistently ranked by Afghan people as a country which has stood by them and is of greatest help to them at the same time, all these projects, we had to face a lot of challenges,” he added.
He added that multiple attempts were made to disrupt peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Moreover, according to the date of the Afghan presidential palace, Salam Dam will generate 42MW electricity from its three turbines. India has spent $290 million complete construction of the dam. The dam has capacity to provide irrigation water for 80,000 hectares of agriculture land.
Afghanistan annually pays millions of dollars to import big part of its electricity from neighbouring countries of Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
This is worth mentioning that Salma Dam is India’s the most expensive infrastructure project in the region at over $275 million.
The dam is the most ambitious in a series of Indian infrastructure project meant to help rebuild Afghanistan, which include the $135 million Route 606 highway from Delaram to Zaranj, the “42 million power transmission line from Pul-i-Khumri to Kabul, and the $90 million building that houses the country’s parliament.
Salam Dam was surveyed during Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan’s tenure later preliminary work was kicked off on the project. Past decades of conflict stopped work on this vital project.
It is also a stark fact that the enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan had tried every attempt to destroy Afghan-India Friendship Dam. In the past, officials responsible to maintain security of the dam, informed media that they have seized 50 kilogram explosives placed in a truck near to the dam.