Archive for June 23rd, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Arunachal Pradesh and the “Disingenuous” ADB

A board meeting at the Asian Development Bank was scheduled on March 26 and 27. It was to discuss its 2009 – 2012 strategy on India, including India’s request for a US$2.9 billion loan approval for a project which included a $60 million flood management, water supply and sanitation project in Arunachal Pradesh. This may sound innocuous to the uninitiated reader, but only so long as he doesn’t understand that Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese South Tibet. China asked for a postponement of the meeting. It was assumed, but not confirmed, that Beijing didn’t want to endorse a project in a region it claimed as its own.

But yesterday, the Asian Development Bank made an unwise move in approving the loan. Wang Yuan, an editor with China’s Global Times, wrote an editorial based on an interview with Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies today. It describes the perception that the US and Japan are backing India’s hard-line stance and do little to further unity among the bank’s member states.

But what should unite the bank’s member states? For one, it could be the bank’s cause itself: to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.

That’s what the Asian Development has done by approving India’s loan request. And that’s what China tried to obstruct. If it really considers Arunachal Pradesh its own territory, it should care for the well-being of the people living there, rather than looking at the project as a bargaining chip.

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Related: “They actually said Greater Tibet, May 10

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