Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brothers in Arms? Or Brothers armed with fear?

Hi friends

In a recent article in “The Hindu”, Siddharth Varadarajan (henceforth referred to as Sid) made some interesting observations into the complicated relationship between India and China, and on how the world perceives these two growing powers. It is not an unknown fact that the growing dominance of China (both militarily and economically) and its increasing presence all over Asia and Africa does make the Indian leaders uneasy and unsure of its intentions. In return, the closeness of India to the USA, and its kowtowing to the USA on many international issues, does put the Chinese leaders in a position of uncertainty.

According to Sid, based on his talks with scholars from the other side of the border, there are four problem areas w.r.t India.

  1. The border dispute, which gives both sides ample talking points and reasons to doubt each other. The recent brittleness, as Sid suspects, is only due to this. 
  1. The presence of the Dalai Lama in India (and his so-called Tibetian Govt. in exile) which continues to threaten Chinese sovereignty, especially in the aftermath of the 2008 Tibetan unrest in Lhasa, which also resulted in a mass-scale attack on Chinese consulates all over the world, just a few months before the Beijing Olympics. I concur with Sid that the Dalai Lama in India is much better for China as compared to the Dalai Lama in the USA, and that the Chinese and Indians have to think about a post-Dalai Lama scenario and work towards a favorable position. 
  1. Chinese relationship with Pakistan, which even the Chinese scholars admit, was initially concentrated to balance the growing power of India in the region. But even the Chinese understand that the Indian juggernaut will continue to roll on, while the Pakistan is getting more unstable by the day. It is in the interest of both China and India to have a more stable Pakistan. Apart from the USA, only China wields more influence on Pakistan. 
  1. The “trust deficit”, which is more strategic-related than culturally-significant. The Chinese seem to believe that the Indians look down upon them (and I agree with a general statement that we are as racist as anyone else in the world, perhaps even more). But they happen to think that India, through its close relationship with the Western World, seems to be ganging up against China and making use of its influence and are willing to be used by the USA in return. 
Over the last few years, the Sino-Indian relationship seems to be oscillating in a more frenzied manner than the usual disquiet of mistrust and uncertainty. This, in my view, is a good sign. One of the most striking factors in the Sino-Indian relationship happens to be the lack of trust between the two parties, and lack of understanding of their rising roles in World Affairs. We need to have more dialogue with them on more issues other than the border-related and trade-related issues. Yes, we may not always agree on certain issues, but with more dialogue, we can actually understand more about our neighbour and so can they.

As much as we Indians hate to admit it, the Chinese have surpassed India in many respects, both in economic and military terms. The Chinese have tried to alleviate poverty and improve the living conditions of their people. They have tried to bring upward mobility by understanding their society much more than we have ever tried to do in India. Instead of keeping the poor poor, the Chinese have tried to improve the spending power of the rural hinterlands and provide them with a more fluid income as compared to their peers in other countries. Before we try to look at the figures, we need to understand that the PRC is nearly three times as large as India, and more populated too. Yet, it is the most successful state-controlled economy that ever has been in existence. Not only has it maintained a growth rate that has befuddled economics and politicians alike, it has also expanded its presence in various countries, and realigned its strategies based on the need of the day. As neighbors, we have a lot to learn from the Chinese on how the state can uplift its citizens and yet maintain astounding growth levels.

You can read more at the following link: CLICK FOR LINK

The incident (thanks to Wikileaks once again) mentioned at the start of the article makes for a good read, and I am reproducing it here for your pleasure.

The U.S. ambassador in Paris met Michel Rocard, a former Prime Minister of France, in October 2005 for a chat. At the end, Mr. Rocard says “Speaking of the growth of India and China, along with all the other challenges confronting both of us, we need a vehicle where we can find solutions for these challenges together — so when these monsters arrive in 10 years, we will be able to deal with them.”

Talks a lot about our position in the world, right?


Raj said...

nice one..

NKD said...

fundoo post dude. loved reading it

IIM ka Sarkari Babu said...

Thanks Rajesh bhai :)

Hi NKD, welcome to my blog :) May I know who are you?

IIM ka Sarkari Babu said...

Arey NKD yaani Nirmal Kumar Das !!!!