New Delhi (AsiaNews) - While the world places its hopes in the kingdom of Cindia (the union of the Indian and Chinese markets), in order to overcome the global economic crisis, there seems to be an increasing differences between the two Asian giants. Certainly, the competition between India and China goes back a long way: and was related to the boundaries and military differences. But lately, with their entry in the international commercial and business field, Delhi and Beijing have begun to have many differences regarding a number of problems.
In the last few weeks there have been various reports regarding the Chinese military violating the boundaries, the last on the 13th of September in the northern state of Uttarkanth. The Indian government tries to downplay this in order to keep away from the spotlights reasons for tensions and not give the opposition a chance for criticizing. But the facts demonstrate that along the so called Line of Control (LOC), the two armies not only control each other. Today the Indian army reported that 2 officials from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police have been injured during clashes with the Chinese military along the borders in Sikkim. This incident occurred on the 30th of August and is a indicator of the disorienting situation.
The map of India was drawn by the British officers when China was a subdued nation. The British had their own interest in putting the demarcations of the boundaries as outer as possible. When they left, India inherited the boundaries of a “conquered” empire.
As soon as the Chinese communist army was in a position to affirm their rights, in 1962, they invaded from the north-east and India was not prepared to stop them. From that bitter experience, the India of the non-violent Gandhi, was compelled to start the arms race till the atomic bomb in 1974. Since kilometers of these boundaries are on the high mountains of Himalaya it is very difficult to demarcate them and still more difficult to keep them under control. This explains the continuous clashes between the two armies.
In last few years the conflict has increased between the two countries. India and China differ strongly on many issues: - their respective position at the WTO (World Trade Organisation) – export of Chinese toys to India – competition in African markets and resources – China’s less transparent deals with Islamabad – support to the Dalai lama and Tibetan cause – Chinese firms’ investments in certain sectors in India – issuing visas to Indian businessmen.
The latest argument is about the planned visit of the Dalai lama to the state of Arunachala Pradesh and the deployment of fighter planes, Sukhois, in Tezpur. Arunachala has a good number of Buddhist population and that justify the visit of the Dalai lama, but China consider this land as part of Tibet and so of China. For this reason India plans to be ready to defend it. Now that Pakistan is busy fighting terrorism on the Afghan border, India con redeploy his fighter planes on the East. To keep the North-East border safe from hostile forces, a full complement of MKI variant of the Su30 warplanes will be deployed at the Tezpur airbase in Assam by October. This will be followed by a further deployment at the Chabua base in eastern Assam and also at Bagdogra in West Bengal.
This competition is bound to increase now that both of them, Chindia, had become the driving engines of the financial recovery after the great economic crisis. A showdown is on the cards now that India knows that Chinese-made toys have captured at least 60% of India’s market. Can two countries competing for the same slot of Asian superpower and future world power ever be good neighbours and trusted business partners?
The common feeling in India is that China is encircling India from Pakistan to Myanmar, from Malacca and Colombo. Indians fear that China wants to flood the Indian market with cheap products, probably made by prison labour.
In January India imposed a six month ban on the import of Chinese toys and China threatened to drag India to WTO for “unfair trade restriction”. Indian traders, particularly the small ones, are worried about Chinese toys. “Now they are making even traditional Indian things like Ganesha. Their products are cheaper and sturdy. We have no chance of competing with them” said Prakash Bansal, a Delhi based toymaker whose business had suffer huge losses recently.
It is well-known that China’s communist bosses have always regarded India’s democracy with contempt. But Indian leaders believe that in the long run democracy will prevail and when the taste of freedom will take place among the Chinese people the stability of Chinese establishment will suffer and turmoil will slow down the economic growth. Another big advantage is the knowledge of the English language that India has inherited from the British era.
The ideal recipe for an ideal cooperation will be to complement each other as it is already happening: the hardware for computer are mainly produces in the Chinese world, while the software are mainly produces in India or by Indians in the silicon valley. Could it be the model for the future?