The Afghan cabinet has renamed the Salma Dam to the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in a move to strengthen relations between the two countries.
In statement issued by the Presidential Palace, the decision was taken by President Ashraf Ghani during a cabinet session.
According to Indian officials the Salma hydro-electric dam – which they are funding - will cost an estimated $300 million USD to complete. The hydroelectric and irrigation dam project is located on the Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province in western Afghanistan.
The dam was originally constructed in 1976 on the Hari river basin, but was damaged early during the civil war in Afghanistan.
The reconstruction of the dam was first initiated by an Indian company in 1988, but the project was left incomplete for a significant period of time due to the ongoing instability caused by the civil war.
In 2006, India committed to funding the completion of the Salma Dam. Once completed, the hydroelectric plant will produce 42 megawatts of power in addition to providing irrigation for 75,000 hectares of farmland - stabilizing the existing irrigation of 35,000 hectares and development of irrigation facilities to an additional 40,000 hectares of land.
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