India has no business granting Pakistan an NOC on the Diamer-Bhasha dam.
So it seems that the Asian Development Bank has put paid to Pakistan’s desire in building the Diamer-Bhasha dam, which was expected to produce 4,500 MW of electricity for the energy-starved country. According to the Express Tribune:
After initially placing two conditions for financing the dam, estimated to cost around $12 billion, the ADB has lately asked Pakistan to get a no-objection certificate from India, which is not being received well in government circles. Initially, the ADB called on Pakistan to acquire land and develop national consensus in a bid to avoid hurdles during construction work. However, when both the conditions were met, the ADB retreated from its commitment. [Express Tribune]
The Asian Development Bank is right in stalling the project, given that Pakistan’s intended construction of the dam lies in disputed territory. Requiring an NOC from the other disputant, therefore, is only fair. The danger here isn’t so much gauging how Pakistan or the ADB would react than reigning in India’s historic proclivity for being magnanimous with regard to Pakistan.
In the pursuit of magnanimity and peace with Pakistan (whatever that means), the Government of India might feel compelled to grant such an NOC to Pakistan. However, Diamer-Bhasha dam falls within the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, which was unequivocally declared as Indian territory in India’s Parliamentary resolution in 1994.
Thus, issuing an NOC enabling Pakistan to proceed with the Diamer-Bhasha dam has implications beyond the construction of the dam itself. New Delhi would be wise in treading very carefully on the issue. Altering our stance here could have a larger implications on our claims on J&K as well as our position on the status of territory illegally usurped by an aggressor state in 1947.