June 16, 2009 4:21:30 am
Despite strong dissent from China,India scored a major diplomatic victory at the Asian Development Bank board meeting today as all other members voted in favour to grant approval for the $2.9-billion India plan.
China had blocked a consensus because it contained $60-million watershed development projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
Its reliably learnt that China was the lone dissenter at todays meeting and voted against the India plan that covers the period for the next three years until 2012,arguing that ADB cannot fund projects in disputed areas like Arunachal Pradesh.
India,of course,countered that the ADB was not the forum to discuss these issues and that the state is an integral part of India.
The success at the ADB,sources said,was a result of a massive diplomatic effort which saw India sending demarches to all key countries. The scales finally tilted when US,the country with the maximum voting share,came out in Indias favour.
Its learnt that last week Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held a meeting in North Block with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna where it was decided that demarches be sent to all 66 countries represented in the ADB.
Specific attention was given to the US,Japan and South Korea,which control large voting shares in the Bank. Assurances were won and detailed explanations were provided to those who had doubts.
The ADB clearance comes a day before the PM meets the Chinese President Hu Jintao at Moscow where both leaders are attending the SCO well as the BRIC (Brazil,Russia,India and China) summits.
While the two leaders are unlikely to let this confrontation in the ADB come in the way of broader deliberations,sources said,the Chinese intransigence at the ADB has definitely left a sour taste.
Pakistan voted in Indias favour but not before it made a statement on how the ADB should have a policy on funding in disputed areas.
Its learnt that Beijing had been leaning on Islamabad to show solidarity but the latter was constrained by the fact that its own plan has certain projects in the Northern Areas. Given its larger voting share,India could have created roadblocks for Pakistans plan in case it supported China. Moreover,Pakistan had no alternate funding arrangement.
Since March last week,when China first raised the objection,India had been lobbying hard with the ADB to rule out Chinese objections on the grounds that the Bank could not entertain bilateral disputes. However,the growing Chinese clout had ADB writing to India that it must find ways through bilateral channels to get Beijing to remove its objection.
India objected to ADBs suggestion and went to the extent of conveying that if this was to be the approach,then India would rather withdraw its plan and rethink its relationship with the ADB.
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