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India Se Chindia

Increasing the traffic of ideas between China and India will help bring them together.

7/14/2014 2:02:31 PM
written By : Debashis Chatterjee Print

A North Indian, working for a multinational Indian IT Company was given a choice by his boss to locate to a role either in Madras or China. He told his boss, “This is no choice really as both Madras and China are foreign lands for me - the food, the language and the music are equally alien to my taste.” He finally joined the traffic of thousands of Indian IT professionals who are carving out a reasonable living in China.

In the geopolitical and economic space, India and China have been sparring partners. These two giants on the cusp of world leadership are seen by the popular media more as rivals than partners. We add up to nearly 40 per cent of the world’s 7 billion population and are yet seen to be politically, linguistically and culturally untranslatable to each other. India and China have had very different trajectories of economic growth. India does not have a majoritarian and muscular executive that China has. China does not have India’s omnipresent media and almost omnipotent judiciary. While China doesn’t follow many rules, India has too many rules to follow.

David Milliband, the former British foreign secretary once said, “After 1989, capitalism saved China. After 2008 China has saved capitalism.” One can do more than just see China through such extreme economic or ideological prisms. Despite the divergence of China and India, I see some significant points of convergence. I will reproduce a text quoted by India’s Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a speech he delivered last week to Indian business leaders. 

He said: “We have issues such as unbalanced, uncoordinated, unsustainable development. There is no strong capability in technological innovation. There is a gap between urban and rural development. Many problems and issues affect the interest of the masses such as education, employment, social security, healthcare, housing, environment, food and drug safety, workplace safety, social order; law enforcement and judicial issues. There is too much formalism and bureaucracy. The anti-corruption situation is still grim. The crucial thing in resolving these issues is to deepen reforms.”

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