Editorial Comment: Ambush At ADB

From the India Times:

China has sought to scuttle the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) disbursal of development funds to India amounting to $2.9 billion. India requires $60 million specifically for a watershed development project in Arunachal Pradesh. But China doesn’t want Arunachal which it considers “disputed territory” to be part of any plans financed by the bank. As the largest donor to ADB after the US and Japan, China appears to think it can steamroll the bank into toeing its line. Its conduct is in keeping with its recent objections to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s and President Pratibha Patil’s visits to Arunachal.

Indian leaders, surely, don’t need Beijing’s okay to tour parts of their own country. It’s, therefore, disappointing that ADB should seem to endorse China’s untenable position by asking India to break the deadlock ‘bilaterally’. Why China has muscle-flexed at the ADB lends itself to speculation. By internationalising a bilateral issue, some may say it is trying to trip India, which the world recognises as a vibrant democracy and an impressive growth story. Others may argue that China is messaging Asia at large about its clout. Or that it may be firing over India’s shoulder at Japan, which calls the shots at ADB.


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