Economic Ties with China: India Needs to Look Beyond Politics

Alka Acharya, ICS Honorary Fellow and Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

There appears to be a world of difference between the images presented by India-China economic and commercial ties on the one hand and the politico-strategic on the other. Interactions and exchanges with representatives from both these domains are markedly different in tone and tenor—the former focus on the opportunities, openings, benefits and profits while the latter dwell more on the dangers, threats, challenges and disputes.

Prima facie, they appear to be working at different levels, according to their own—somewhat different—logic and rationale, and it does not look like they will converge any time soon in a more composite picture of this most critical of relationships in the world today. The political understanding at the highest level, which is committed to building a strategic and cooperative—and now more promisingly ‘developmental’—partnership, struggles with deep suspicion that runs through practically our entire strategic discourse. On the other hand, economic engagements have become the most dynamic and transformative aspects of the India-China relationship today. But this has to contend with the structural mismatch between the manufacturing strengths and industrial capacity of the two economies—and therefore, unsurprisingly, perceived by and large as a situation that works only to China’s advantage. The controversial and contentious political issues and the angry exchanges understandably garner greater attention.

Bigger Picture

And yet we must ask ourselves as to whether that is all there is to the overall picture. Continue reading “Economic Ties with China: India Needs to Look Beyond Politics”

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Why Economic Engagement with China Matters

Ravi Bhoothalingam, Honorary Fellow, ICS

In the aftermath of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India-China bilateral relations have plumbed new depths. China accuses India of using the Dalai Lama to provoke anti- Chinese sentiment, and says that diplomatic relations are “seriously damaged”. But His Holiness is a popular and revered guest in India, and so the Indian government’s resolute defence of his right to travel anywhere in the country remains fully in harmony with popular sentiment. Still, we should expect a climate of “cold peace” between the two countries for some time to come, with bilateral political issues remaining unresolved. However, a Sinophobic public climate can damage our own public interest, and this the government should work to avoid. Because China matters to India — if not politically — certainly in the realm of economic development. And it matters in four quite specific ways. Continue reading “Why Economic Engagement with China Matters”

Why China Should Support “Make in India”

Ravi Bhoothalingam, Honorary Fellow, ICS

A version of this article was originally published in Chinese as ‘中国为何应支持“印度制造”’ (Zhongguo weihe ying zhichi “Yindu zhizao”), 第一财经 (Yicai), 4 April 2017. This is part of a series by Indian scholars in China’s top business affairs news portal facilitated by the ICS. The Chinese version follows below the English text.

“Make in India”—a signature campaign of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi– was launched in late 2014 with the objective of transforming India into a dynamic global manufacturing hub, and thus radically enhancing employment and the prosperity of the Indian people. Just a few months later came an announcement from China’s State Council of “Made in China 2025”—a set of eight policy measures to re-orient the Chinese manufacturing sector in line with the country’s economic structural adjustment program. So, are “Make in India” and “Made in China” competitive programmes which coud drive another wedge between these two nations?

To answer this question, we need to understand the nature of both “Make in India” and “Made in China” more closely. Continue reading “Why China Should Support “Make in India””

India and China: A Red Hot Affair!

Kajari Kamal, Ph D. Scholar, University of Hyderabad

I was recently gifted a Redmi Note 3, a smartphone developed by Xiaomi Inc., the third largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world. The gift was a huge surprise and I excitedly flipped the box to read the specifications. What caught my attention immediately was a ‘Made in India’ tag shining in bright red, possibly the only thing in red on a Redmi phone box! Being a keen student of Chinese history, the choice of the name “Xiaomi” (small grain of rice) intrigued me and I started to read about the company. Xiaomi is a Chinese word for “millet” and Xiaomi’s CEO links the “Xiao” part to the Buddhist concept that “a single grain of rice of a Buddhist is as great as a mountain”. Continue reading “India and China: A Red Hot Affair!”