China may again oppose ADB plan for Arunachal

Feb 16, 2009
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China may again oppose ADB plan for Arunachal - India - NEWS - The Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The India-China dispute over Arunachal Pradesh and the ADB development plan is not over yet.

China may again oppose ADB plan for Arunachal

While the country partnership strategy for India was cleared by the ADB board on June 15, after an unprecedented locking of horns between India and China, the latter has not yet given up its resolute opposition to the contentious water project in Arunachal.

According to high level sources, China will keep up its efforts to delay or kill the project as it goes through the implementation phase. In a recent article, prominent India analyst Ma Jiali of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations wrote, "The ADB's irrational move... undermined China's interests and complicated the China-India border issue. China's strong reaction was fully justified. Although it would be extremely difficult to overthrow the current document, it should be noted that it is only a framework document and much needs to be done to implement the loan projects. In this process, there may be some room for change."

However, India is yet to decide what its response will be once these objections start to show up. Foreign minister S M Krishna said, "There is always an element of uncertainty in international funding, whereas there is certainty with internal funding. It is now a conscious decision by India to raise funds internally in sensitive areas."

However, other top level sources said India will not take the Arunachal project off the ADB table. "There is no question of India abandoning the multilateral route for such projects," he said. This will give China a walkover after it had to backtrack at the ADB board. Only if the ADB refuses to go through with the project will India seek other means of funding, either internal or bilateral, sources said. Such a move will also undermine India's position that border areas like Arunachal Pradesh are as integral to India as say, Bihar.

There are other reservations to India abandoning the multilateral route. India is not only one of the biggest stakeholders in the ADB, it also represents a host of other countries like Bangladesh, Laos and Kazakhstan. If the officially articulated Indian position is to be carried through, it could have a deleterious effect on a whole host of projects in "sensitive" areas in many of these countries, senior officials responsible for crafting policy said.

China has reportedly asked ADB to issue a disclaimer on the political status of the territory, Arunachal Pradesh in this case, where the project will be implemented. India should not be surprised yet again.

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