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China plans to complete a $2 billion hydropower project in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir ahead of schedule, according to state-run media in Beijing.

The Karot Hydropower Project is being built on the river Jhelum. Construction began last year. It will be owned by a Chinese firm for 30 years, after which it will be handed over to the Pakistan government.

India has consistently opposed China's funding of projects in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir on the grounds that it violates India's territorial sovereignty.

The company said in a statement that the project will help ease Pakistan's power shortage and generate local employment.

The report in the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid, has not mentioned the new timeline for the project. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the project would be ready nine months ahead of its December 2021 deadline."India has repeatedly expressed its concern over the project since the project is located in disputed Kashmir, but it won't affect cooperation between China and Pakistan, because the ties are unshakable and will not target India," the Global Times quoted Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Relations.

China is spending about $54 billion on infrastructure projects for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which also runs through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and is part of  the massive 'Belt-And-Road' plan to connect China with Europe and Africa through a network of roads,  rail and ports.  India has denounced the project and boycotted a huge conclave in May in Beijing that was attended by 60 countries that have signed up to the Belt-and-Road project.

China and India ended their worst border stand-off in decades at the end of August with both sides agreeing to withdraw their troops from the flashpoint at the remote Doklam Plateau in the Eastern Himalayas. Indian troops crossed the Sikkim border in June to stop China from constructing a new road located close to the "Chicken's Neck" which links India to its northeastern states.

SYDNEY:  An AirAsia flight from Australia to Indonesia was forced to turn back to Perth after losing cabin pressure, with passengers today recounting their terror as oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling.

India is in advanced talks with Sri Lanka to operate an airport on the southern tip of the island, where China has invested heavily as part of its Belt and Road initiative, a Sri Lankan minister said.

India's tense military standoff with China at the tri-junction of the two countries with Bhutan has overshadowed the prospects for amicable co-operation between them on a host of other issues. Yet, however the Doklam crisis is eventually resolved, it should not obscure the potential for genuine cooperation with China in tackling another crisis - one with arguably greater stakes for India and the world at large. And that is the crisis of climate change.

WASHINGTON:  Top US Senator John McCain has moved a legislative amendment in the Senate to impose gradual diplomatic, military, and economic costs on Pakistan if it continues to provide support to terrorist groups, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Chief Editor: Gurcharan Singh Babbar
Associate Editor: Rajesh Mangal

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