New Delhi/Islamabad: In a joint agreement, the governments of India and Pakistan agreed to sign a historic border project to end chances of border skirmishes once and for all.
Under this, the countries propose to transform the entire stretch of border area (which includes the No-Man’s land along the LOC/IB plus an additional 20 kilometers stretch on both sides) into a landmark Renewable-Energy project.
This project will place thousands of solar-energy panels side-by-side in this land to enable electricity generation for people’s consumption, hence the term ‘border-energy’ project.
This first-of-a-kind Indo-Pak project not only aims to resolve the energy shortage issue, but more importantly, the strategic nature of the project’s benefits will ensure the governments, military and other entities on both sides get an incentive not to tamper in that volatile area and resort to border violence since it will damage the solar panels and thus, only reduce public popularity within its own population of those involved in the skirmish.
When asked why are the project’s benefits of such extreme strategic importance, the Pak PM said Pakistan is reeling under severe energy shortages and this has become a national issue. This project aims to reduce the energy deficit and hence ensuring the project’s success is of national importance for all entities in Pakistan.
On India’s side, the Indian PM said India is reeling under severe fiscal deficit in its public finances which is an issue of national debate. The revenue ensuing from this project will help to reduce the government’s fiscal deficit and put its public finances in order.
According to them, India needs the money, and Pakistan needs the energy, so it’s a win-win situation for both. India has this technology already, and hence while it will be a government-owned project given the parties involved, Indian renewable energy companies engaged in solar manufacturing expect the government to sub-contract out the manufacturing and set-up process to them.
According to them, the potential of the project is immense given that the land area allocated in terms of its length and breadth. Its length will be the entire line along the LOC and IB, and its breadth will be almost 50 kilometers (20 kilometers on each side plus approximately 10 kilometers of no man’s land).
However, this deal has been given the thumbs-down by several armament manufacturing companies in China, USA and Europe. CEOs of some major arms companies have decided to go on an indefinite hunger-strike as a protest, calling it a ‘undemocratic conspiracy’.
They said that continuance of hostilities in Asian and African countries is of vital strategic importance, given the criticality of earnings from the production and sales of defense products to bolster their own countries’ GDPs and economic recovery. They added that agreements like this border deal only displays the irresponsible behaviour of the Indian and Pakistani governments.
Incidentally, on the sidelines of the agreement, it was also announced that the person who proposed this project has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.