Neighbour blocking foreign investment to Arunachal: CM

ITANAGAR, Feb 09: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday claimed that foreign investments are eluding this sensitive border state due to objections raised by a neighbor (referring to China), and urged the GoI to address the issue in his address, before PM Narendra Modi addressed the public here on Saturday .

“Arunachal Pradesh has huge potentials but due to objection of the neighbouring nation, foreign investment is not coming,” Khandu said. Although Khandu did not name China, the reference was obvious as Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,080-km border with China which has refused to recognise India’s claim on the region. New Delhi has consistently maintained that Arunachal is an “integral and inalienable part” of India.

“I hope in coming days under your (Modi’s) intervention, the issue will be resolved so that we can convert our potential into capital,” Khandu added.

Khandu did not cite any specific instance of foreign investment getting blocked, but sources said that the CM was hinting at objection raised by China in June 2009 after a mega Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded irrigation project got scrapped.

ADB board of directors and member nations had endorsed a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2009-12, which included the irrigation project. Although ADB member nations had backed a document, including a flood management project for Arunachal, pressure from China “forced” the ADB to withdraw the project.

In 2010, India dropped Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim from a World Bank loan proposal to avoid running into Chinese objections over multilateral financial aid to projects in border areas, an official on condition of anonymity said.

“The initial loan proposal for Rs 11,000 crore to strengthen electricity transmission and distribution in northeastern region covered Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. After excluding the two states, loan amount was around Rs 8,115 crore,” the GoAP official said.

“Arunachal was getting more attention from the Centre ever since NDA Govt came to power in 2014. The region which remained neglected for years together got its due recognition after Modi became the PM”, Khandu said, adding “The seriousness for the region has gained momentum which is evident from the fact that every month at least three ministers visit NE states.”

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