Sunday, November 1, 2009

Is Chindia a Chimera? Are the two Asian giants inevitably pitted against each other?

Omkar Goswami, a noted economist and opinion maker, in a recent column in the weekly magazine, the Businessworld, 31 Oct 2009, looks at the state of China India relationship, and says that China can not be a friend of India, and calls for rapid growth, strengthening of border, and ties with US, Russia and others.
The pro-China groups in India are barking up the wrong tree. They don’t, and won’t, understand that China doesn’t give a fig about India. It has a very simple two-fold view of itself: to be the most powerful and influential nation in Asia and, with the US, become the Club of Two that defines global polity. India has no place in this scheme; and China will never hesitate to put us down if there is the slightest hint of our questioning this dual mandate.
The Chinese politicians are also quite contemptuous of India. Since they care nothing about vox populi, they see no merit in our democracy and elections. Instead, they see great demerit in our inability to force a more rapid pace of growth. In their eyes, we are a second grade country with poor roads and highways, poor manufacturing, severe power shortages, horrible urban infrastructure and significant poverty that is demanding greater rights in global capitals... ... ...
China is no friend of India’s. It is, at best, an occasional bedfellow that can suddenly leave you in the lurch. China cares only for China, and if India helps in furthering China’s interests, it can tag along. Otherwise, it will be cut out. We can’t think of allying with China with any degree of permanence. Unfortunately, we still don’t seem to understand that. One day, we will. Hopefully, before it is too late.
The solution is to be real. To realise that we need to significantly strengthen our borders; call their bluff with credibility; focus on rapidly growing the economy; and build strong relationships with the US, Russia and certain key nations in Asia. And to never shirk from telling them to back off when they intrude into our affairs. That requires a strong state with a sophisticated veneer... ... ...
Historically, the two of the oldest civisilations in Asia, had never clashed, till 1962. While there were some trade and occasional contact across the Himalayas through Tibet, most people on one side of the mountains perhaps had little idea of those on the other side. Given this past, will the realpolitik of the present colour the future permanently?

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