Friday, February 19, 2010

India Vs China - (e)relations

A couple of months ago, this article caught my attention more so because from what little I know about the Indian army, its strengths and weaknesses, I can definitely say that if there is a war, both countries will lose but India will sustain the most damage and in a few years, everyone will conveniently forget any territories occupied by China (like the China-occupied Kashmir that seems to have eluded everyone’s memory). China already made a big fuss about the Indian Prime minister visiting Arunachal Pradesh. So what are China’s intentions towards India ?

I have always held the opinion that just because a country does not support democracy, it is no reason to suspect it of espionage or accuse it of unfriendliness. But this article refers to a report that shows a planned campaign of computer hacking by China. Comforting.

Internet freedom in China is very questionable and Google has already said that it may end operations in China . Previously, Google had been censoring the search results by filtering those websites that were categorized as hostile according to the Chinese Government. Agreed that Google is not the perfect platform for privacy. But even when Obama was in China, he aired his views on the topic of internet freedom and very predictably, it fell on deaf ears and the irony was that even his views were censored in various parts of the country.

I met a person from a Govt. agency in China at a conference. He voluntarily spoke to me, talked to me about his trip to Delhi a few years ago and then we moved on to discussing the conference itself. I gave him a business card and asked him for one. He searched for it in his pockets and said he would give it to me later (since the conference still had 3 more days to go). That was the last I saw of him ! Everytime I managed to talk to him during the coffee or lunch break, he would somehow evade me and I gave up after a while. Someone from a Govt. agency refuses to share a business card. Perfect. On the other side, the Indian army is requesting the personnel not to enter service-related information in Facebook or orkut for fear of leaking sensitive information. Democracy.

We used to have pot luck dinners at the University where students from many countries would meet and each would bring a dish from his/her place. There were 3 Chinese and during the dinner I asked them about their future plans and if they would go back to China. All the three said ‘No’ spontaneously and seeing my surprised look went on to explain that they liked it better in Europe and so on. Since then I have met numerous Chinese – friends and otherwise and until date I do not know of anyone who wants to go back. Do they all miss the freedom of expression, freedom of choice, freedom to watch a movie or browse without having the Govt. interfere? I wonder……

I completely agree that China and India view progress and success in very different ways. While China could conduct Olympics, India is still struggling to get the venue ready for the common wealth games (oh..what a shame) ! While China always figures in the top 5 Olympic medal winners, Indians look up the list everyday waiting for one winner to show up in the final tally. Yes, the Chinese are committed, and yes, they are working towards a goal. Everyone is talking about China’s growth and progress but how many people stop and ask ‘But at what cost?!’

War and colonialisation were seen as symbols of power of a country…oh…did I say were? Only there is the prefix e- to everything now, hackers are in demand and cyber wars are the way to go.

Amidst all this, the business week seems to have a completely different and interesting take. This article refutes the age old assumption that the China market is too big to walk away from and says India is a better market and here is the most interesting paragraph from the article - “The urban-rural income gap has steadily declined since the early '90s. Over the past decade, economic growth in rural India has outpaced growth in urban areas by almost 40%. Rural India now accounts for half the country's GDP, up from 41% in 1982. World Bank studies show that rural China accounts for only a third of GDP and generates just 15% of China's growth. Meanwhile, rural India is chipping in about two-thirds of overall growth”. This may be the cue for many firms to move from China to India and make similar or little lesser profits but without the difficult commercial conditions. If this is going to be good for India, well, that is a question that only time can answer.

PS: If you were expecting me to come up with resolutions for this issue, as flattering as that sounds, I would rather not. I am a simple minded person who believes in every country minding its own business and no one in the international political arena will be happy with that.

PPS: I was trying to look at the issue objectively but some of my biases could have found its way into my words. Sorry. Intention is only to think about the issue and hear what others have to say as well.

Mental note: I should stop reading so much about India and China using Google ! God knows where that will land me.

Copyright for picture: no idea, the source I used:


  1. Pragmatic, I would say.
    The one problem I would like to see go away, is our govt (officials and the pols) atleast trying to pose as brave and standups. As India grows and gains voice and economic power status across the globe, we should not be seen as weak (with our neighbors atleast).
    Also, there was a discussion in Linkedin, on how to eliminate poverty in India, I was saying, no amount of donations, good will by private citizens and Corps will help, rather it has to a be concerted effort, and a corruption free one at that, to achieve that. Our citizens are not ready to make such a change, and rather let our pols be as corrupt as they can get.... Unfortunate...but how do we change it?

  2. Good article.. and excellent treatment in handling the issue...

  3. First time a political article!!! carry on.

    In my opinion India should first stand up to Pak first and that will give lots of answers to the rest of the world. Taking on china is not an easy thing it has to be done systematically in multiple fronts.

    I like the PPS part..

  4. @Itsdifferent
    you are right, if the system has to change, the people have to too since they are a part of the system. Maybe good will can find its way to the current generation in making them stand up to issues instead of turning their backs to it...well, thats the hope.

    But wouldn't that mean picking on someone weaker ? Irrespective of what anyone says, in a war, Pakistan is hardly any match for India and I think standing up to China is necessary since we are the weaker one there.

  5. That won't be diplomatic.. It is not picking someone weaker.. its for amount of hindrence caused. Pakistan creates so much trouble compared to china.. giving a fitting reply to Pak will send the message to the right areas.

  6. Hmm.. Quite a good one. Its really tough to maintain a neutral stand but you had done it quite good. :) u might also be interested in this blog
    But sad thing is we are lagging behind even Pakistan when it comes to hacking issues(whhile we deface 7 they deface 13 0f our website everyday)!!!


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