Thursday, August 26, 2010

Huang Jing: Managing Asian G2

India and China were really successful on nation-state building.In both countries nationalism arose against the defeats, humiliations and injustice these nations went through during the period of western imperialism. Both countries used western ideas to overthrow foreign domination.It is wise to avoid nationalism in India-China relations, as it is a double-edged sword.The AG2 framework will provide the institutional arrangements to secure the prevalence of wisdom over emotions in the bilateral relationship, writes Huang Jing in Business Standard.


"Despite substantial cultural and religious diversity in both countries, India and China have been largely successful in nation-state building, as evidenced by the strong and unshakable national identity and pride among the Indians and Chinese."

"However, unlike western nationalism, which was associated with pride and jubilance for the triumph of capitalism and industrialisation, nationalism in both India and China arose due to defeats, humiliations and injustice endured during the age of western imperialism — India was under the British Raj and China was a victim of gunboat diplomacy."

"Ironically, the leading elites of the national movements in both India and China embraced western ideas and adopted western political methods in their fight to be rid of “foreign exploitation and operation”. Subsequently, these leaders led their countries towards the western path of modernisation. This deep-seated love-hate mentality towards the West and the bitter roots of their national consciousness have made the Indians and Chinese especially sensitive towards national sovereignty and independence — after all, they were determined never to let history repeat itself."

"In India-China relations, a wise and astute leader would want to avoid involving nationalistic sentiments on the issues — border disputes, trust deficit, mismatched geopolitical concerns, and inconsistent interests in energy, food and water security — that have handicapped the bilateral relationship. Doing so would only deprive the leaders of both the states of the rationality and manoeuvring room necessary for achieving a mutually acceptable solution for, or at least the practical management of, the existing problems in bilateral relations. Furthermore, playing the nationalism card would have dire consequences on political stability at home, as a nationalistic approach would, more often than not, benefit the extremists in domestic politics."

"Indeed, fast economic growth amidst globalisation has brought about an unprecedented transition in both China and India, giving rise to new contradictions, dilemmas and challenges, or exacerbating old ones, in domestic politics as well as bilateral relations."

"Both Delhi and Beijing must make a conscious commitment to contain nationalistic sentiments in the bilateral relationship, especially when the interests of the two countries are inconsistent or in conflict. Political leaders have to realise that playing the nationalism card would produce no benefits. As history has taught us repeatedly, nationalism is always a double-edged sword and it could potentially produce a backlash on those who ride on it for short-term gains."

"The simultaneous rises of the two great neighbouring powers have brought about unprecedented opportunities as well as challenges. The AG2 framework is to provide the institutional arrangements to secure the prevalence of wisdom over emotions in the bilateral relationship, so that the two nations can optimise the opportunities and handle the challenges with a rational and cool-headed approach."

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