HERAT: Marking another major success in India's reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, earlier known as Salma Dam, built with Indian aid.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Ghani said that with India's help a longstanding dream of Afghanistan has been realised after 40 years.
“The assistance of the people and the government of India in constructing this splendid dam reinstitutes the ancient ties of Herat and India,” he said.
“This dam will chart a new course of cooperation and prosperity,” the Afghan President stated.
“Our people identify India with roads, dams and over 200 small developmental projects.”
Originally constructed in 1976, the Salma Dam suffered extensive damage during the Afghan civil war.
It was built at a cost of approximately Rs 1,700 crore by 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers, technocrats and other professionals.
Three turbines on the dam will produce 42 MW of electricity and the water will irrigate around 75,000 hectares of land.
The Afghan-India Friendship Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by the Indian government on river Chist-e-Sharif in Herat province of Afghanistan.
The project was executed and implemented by Wapcos, an Indian government undertaking under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The dam is located 165 km east of Herat city and connected by an earthen road.
According to an official statement, due to security reasons, Indian engineers and technicians involved with the project used to reach the site once in a month by a helicopter service provided by the Afghan government.
All equipment and material were transported from India to Bander-e-Abbas port of Iran via sea, then 1,200 km by road from there to Islam Kila border post on the Iran-Aghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site.
Cement, steel reinforcement and explosives were imported to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries.
The gross capacity of the dam is 633 million cubic metres. The dam is 104.3 metres high, 540 metres long and 450 metres wide at the bottom.
The dam symbolises India's continued support for developmental work in the violence-ridden nation.
In December last year, Modi and Ghani jointly inaugurated a new building of the Afghan parliament in Kabul built with Indian aid.
Last month, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement for the development of the Chabahar port in the Gulf of Oman for transport and transit corridor.