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Afghanistan, India Open Major Dam

The Salma Hydroelectric Dam is located in the western Afghan province of Herat.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have inaugurated a multi-million-dollar dam in western Afghanistan that will bring power and irrigation to vast tracts of the war-torn country.

The Afghan-India Friendship Dam in Herat Province, which borders Iran, was built with Indian aid at a cost of $300 million and was under construction for about a decade.

Modi arrived in Afghanistan on June 4 for the formal inauguration of the project, which will provide 42 megawatts of power and irrigate 75,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Ghani hailed the dam as a symbol of bilateral ties with India.

Modi echoed those remarks, adding that he is committed to the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has cultivated closer ties with India in recent years as a balance to neighboring Pakistan, which has been accused of supporting the Taliban insurgency.

The project, which kicked off in 1976 and was jointly designed by Afghan and Indian engineers, was suspended due to the civil war.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa