India Measures Itself Against a China That Doesn’t Notice

Discussion in 'China' started by Yijiuliuer, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Yijiuliuer

    Yijiuliuer Tihar Jail Banned

    Oct 31, 2012
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    MUMBAI, India — It seems to be a national obsession in India: measuring the country’s economic development against China’s yardstick.

    At a recent panel discussion to commemorate the 20th anniversary of India’s dismantling parts of its socialist economy, a government minister told business leaders to keep their eye on the big prize: growing faster than China.

    “That’s not impossible,” said the minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, who oversees national security and previously was finance minister. “People are beginning to talk about outpacing China.”

    Indians, in fact, seem to talk endlessly about all things China, a neighbor with whom they have long had a prickly relationship, but which is also one of the few other economies that has had 8 percent or more annual growth in recent years.

    Indian newspapers are filled with articles comparing the two countries. Indian executives refer to China as a template for development. Government officials cite Beijing, variously as a threat, partner or role model.

    But if keeping up with the Wangs is India’s economic motive force, the rivalry seems to be largely one-sided.

    “Indians are obsessed with China, but the Chinese are paying too little attention to India,” said Minxin Pei, an economist who was born in China and who writes a monthly column for The Indian Express, a national daily newspaper. (No Indian economists are known to have a regular column in mainland Chinese publications.)

    Most Chinese are unconcerned with how India is growing and changing, because they prefer to compare their country with the United States and Europe, said Mr. Pei, a professor at Claremont McKenna College near Los Angeles. He says he has tried to organize conferences about India in China but has struggled to find enough Chinese India experts.

    Liu Yi, a clothing store owner in Beijing, echoed the sentiments of a dozen Chinese people interviewed in Beijing and Shanghai, in dismissing the idea that the two countries could be compared. Yes, he said India was a “world leader” in information technology but it also had many “backward, undeveloped places.”

    “China’s economy is special,” Mr. Liu said. “If China’s development has a model, you could say it’s the U.S. or England.”

    It might be only natural that the Chinese would look up the development ladder to the United States, now that it is the only nation in the world with a larger economy, rather than over their shoulders at India, which ranks ninth. And while China is India’s largest trading partner, the greatest portion of China’s exports go to the United States.

    So for India, China represents the higher rung to strive for.

    Like India, China traces its civilization back thousands of years and has a population of more than 1 billion people. And China has lessons to offer because, under Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and early ’80s, it started the transition to a more open and competitive economy more than a decade before India. Before Deng took power, India’s economy was bigger on a per-capita basis than China’s.

    Whatever the reasons, Indians compare virtually every aspect of their nation with China. Infrastructure (China is acknowledged as being many kilometers ahead). The armed forces (China is more powerful). Universities (China has invested more in its institutions). The software industry (India is far ahead). Proficiency in the English language (India has the historical advantage, but China is catching up).

    Evidence of the Indo-Sino interest disparity can be seen in the two countries’ leading newspapers. The People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s house organ, had only 24 articles mentioning India on its English-language Web site in the first seven months of this year, according to the Factiva database. By contrast, The Times of India, the country’s largest circulation English-language newspaper, had 57 articles mentioning China — in July alone.

    There are other big gaps. Indian cities, large and small, are filled with Chinese restaurants that serve a distinctly ultraspicy, Indian version of that cuisine. But there are few Indian restaurants in Beijing or Shanghai, let alone in smaller Chinese cities.

    In 2009, more than 160,000 Indian tourists visited mainland China, according to the Chinese government. Barely 100,000 Chinese tourists made the reverse trek, according to India’s government.

    Prakash Jagtap, who owns a small engineering firm in the western Indian city of Pune, has been to China five times. Like many Indians, he loves Chinese food (of the Indian variant) and he sings the praises of Chinese diligence and persistence.

    “They have more discipline,” he said. “Here in our country, people don’t look for the long term. Instead, they look for short term, both the management and labor. We have to change our work culture.”

    Mr. Jagtap’s statement reflects a widely held view among Indians that China has outperformed their country in large part because the Chinese one-party system is more “disciplined” than India’s vibrant, but messy, democracy.

    In early July, The Economic Times, India’s leading financial newspaper, ran a photo slide show on its Web site titled “How China builds these, and why India never does.” The slide show is a series of photographs of large infrastructure projects in China, including the a new 26-mile-long bridge linking Qingdao and the Huangdao district across the Jiaozhou Bay on the northeastern coast.

    India’s views have also been shaped by a 1962 war that ended with China seizing a chunk of the northern India state of Kashmir. The countries still have an unsettled border, and China claims a large piece of territory controlled by India.

    Raghav Bahl, an Indian media executive who has written a book about the economic rise of both countries, said Indians “nursed a severe feeling of humiliation” from the 1962 war that was compounded by China’s economic rise.

    “There is a sense that this is one race that we could have done much better in,” said Mr. Bahl, author of “Superpower? The Amazing Race Between China’s Hare and India’s Tortoise.”

    But he added that Indians had regained confidence recently as a result of their country’s strong economy. Many, like Mr. Chidambaram and The Economist magazine, have suggested that India could soon grow at a faster pace than China. Its economy, at $5.9 trillion, is about three and a half times as big as the Indian economy, but China’s population is much older than India’s.

    In China, however, India does not register as a threat, economically or otherwise.

    Mr. Pei, the economist, said Chinese officials, executives and even many intellectuals did not have a nuanced understanding of India. Communist conservatives maintain that “democracy is hindering India’s development,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Chinese liberals argue that democracy makes India more stable and its government more accountable — an impression that appears to ignore India’s frequent electoral turmoil and deep-rooted corruption.

    But Indian fascination with China’s economic success is also simplistic, Mr. Pei said. While one-party rule may have helped the country build infrastructure and factories in recent decades, it was also responsible for big failures under Mao Zedong. They include the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, when millions of people starved or were killed or persecuted.

    Even now, China’s leaders are struggling to quell public outrage over a recent high-speed train disaster, for which many Chinese blame corruption and cronyism in the railways ministry.

    “In both countries, the level of knowledge about the other is relatively low,” Mr. Pei said.

    But at least several people interviewed in China acknowledged an inherent competition between the countries, given their size and fast growth. Ideally, they said, it will be a healthy rivalry.

    “Competition exists between any two nations,” said Hu Jun, a 40-year-old teacher in Shanghai. “That’s a good thing. If we compete in the areas of high-tech and energy saving, I think that will benefit everyone.”

    In India, Shrayank Gupta, a 21-year-old student at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, echoed those sentiments: “There will definitely be a race, because we are both naturally competitive, and the world will depend on both of us.”

    Xu Yan contributed reporting from Shanghai and Joshua Frank from Beijing.
    A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2011, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: A One-Sided Rivalry.
  3. Yijiuliuer

    Yijiuliuer Tihar Jail Banned

    Oct 31, 2012
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    Amazing, even Pro-democracy mouth pieces ( or pro-western) like this ultra-libral Mr.Pei, has taken a much reserved position on India's development.
  4. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Sep 28, 2011
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    North Carolina, USA
    Why the pejorative tone against a pro-democracy Chinese?
  5. uvbar

    uvbar Regular Member

    Oct 9, 2012
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    afgan wants to be pak
    pak wants to be india
    india wants to be china
    china wants to be US
    and US wants to stay up LOL
    JBH22 likes this.
  6. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 29, 2010
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    QFT that's the real story...

    Russia and China want to be US
  7. Defenceindia2010

    Defenceindia2010 Regular Member

    Aug 21, 2010
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    China imitates the western nations, this chap is mistaking competitiveness with obsession. In this interconnected world in which we live human being measure on another, this is how competition works comparisons are made b/w different economic and political systems to see what is the reason for success and failure. Changes are made internally by analyzing the competition there is not guarantee that any one nation will be at the top for eternity, today China is ahead and tomorrow who knows India or any other nation for that matter will be ahead. :dharma:
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Competition engines democracy.

    Open debates, self criticism and facing realities with courage rather than fudging. Everything said and done in full view and glare of the public domain.

    Sullen, secretive conclaves that decides a Nation's future engines Communist dictatorial repressive regimes.

    Check the US elections vs the Chinese change of guard that is taking place at Great Hall of the People.

    It is a great hall but not for the People.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012

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