China is well and truly mad at us. The latest provocation was a diplomatic coup that India pulled on China, getting the US, Japan and even Pakistan to vote for ADB funding for a $2.9 billion Indian development project, which includes a $60 million watershed development project in Arunachal Pradsh, a state, which China lays claim to.
Having refused assent a couple of months ago, China, this week lost a diplomatic battle as India got others on the board to vote for the project. China's refusal had India hopping mad, with the MEA telling ADB that it would reconsider its relationship with the multilateral financial institution.
Pranab Mukherjee, who was then the foreign minister, rallied his troops together to mount a diplomatic offensive, in the manner of the nuclear deal days. Pakistan, for instance, was told India would spike its funding requests for projects in the Northern Areas. Moreover, Pakistan and India have had a long tradition of voting with each other in multilateral institutions.
China was speechless with rage when the ADB meeting this week carried the project through. In retaliation, the Chinese foreign ministry lashed out at the organization, but actually lashed out at the other countries who voted for India.
In recent days China has taken a hardline against India's decision to station troops and elite fighter aircraft in the northeast. In a scathing editorial in Global Times, China basically asks India to back off.
"India has long held contradictory views on China. Another big Asian country, India is frustrated that China’s rise has captured much of the world’s attention. Proud of its "advanced political system," India feels superior to China. However, it faces a disappointing domestic situation, which is unstable compared with China's.
"India likes to brag about its sustainable development, but worries that it is being left behind by China. China is seen in India as both a potential threat and a competitor to surpass. "But India can’t actually compete with China in a number of areas, like international influence, overall national power and economic scale. India apparently has not yet realized this."
The editorial goes on to say, "India's growing power would have a significant impact on the balance of this equation, which has led India to think that fear and gratitude for its restraint will cause China to defer to it on territorial disputes.
"But this is wishful thinking, as China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India. And while China wishes to coexist peacefully with India, this desire isn't born out of fear.
"India's current course can only lead to a rivalry between the two countries. India needs to consider whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China. It should also be asking itself why it hasn’t forged the stable and friendly relationship with China that China enjoys with many of India's neighbors, like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
"Any aggressive moves will certainly not aid the development of good relations with China. India should examine its attitude and preconceptions; it will need to adjust if it hopes to cooperate with China and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome."
Indian officials fully expect many more ADB incidents to happen in the foreseeable future, and their view is, these should be tackled quietly. So they’ve been livid with the guys in uniform who have been vocal about articulating the "china threat." Which is unfair, because articulating these apprehensions or otherwise doesn’t alter reality.