Monday, November 13, 2006

China - The Unchallenged Victor

Today, China is the cynosure of the whole world being the fastest growing economy. The enviable position was attained by attracting $72.4 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) during 2005 which is one fifth of all FDIs bagged by developing economies. It has also assiduously built a foreign exchange reserve of $1 trillion. It produces and consumes one third of the world steel so much so that the entire world steel industry seems virtually to be at its beck and call. There are plenty of other examples to showcase its invincible position for China to say deservedly to the world - "I am the monarch of all I survey".
India, too, has been hogging limelight for its spectacular GDP growth rate in excess of 8% for the last three years. Though next only to China in matters of recent rapid economic progress, India remains way behind. Being part of the same race, comparisons between the achievements of two nations are often made. The two most populous nations of the world are vast and part of Asia. Perhaps the commonality ends there. The social, political, cultural and linguistic differences between them are too significant.
Yet, I find a common tendency among analysts and some determined bloggers to compare and contrast the two on any issue. We must remember that India is the biggest democracy in the world and embraced liberalisation in 1991 after much dithering. Even today, the Left parties continue to throw a spanner at times in the government's policies whenever they consider it politically expedient to do so. It is a different matter that their counter-parts in China are giving smooth passage to inviting FDIs without any let or hindrance. And whereas any development work can be delayed or stalled in India by a small group of disgruntled citizens or vested interest, there is virtually one-party rule in China.
With both the two big nations trying to attain supremacy, there can never be total cooperation and trust among them though a lot is being expected out of the ensuing visit of the Chinese President to India. While bilateral trade is expected to cross $50 billion by 2010, there are some disturbing news that China will join hands with Pakistan to claim Siachen - a strategic military location for India. There was a war over border disputes in 1962 just before "Hindi-Chini bhai bhai" slogan became immensely popular with the Indians.
The future path, therefore, ought to be traversed with caution exercising wisdom gained out of past mistakes.The bureaucracy and the political mindset seem transfixed at China. It must be realised that India started the reforms process 15 years after China had started besides having constraints in framing and implementing policies unlike China. I read an editorial in Times of India that India is trying to put a man on the moon simply because China is also gearing for the same feat. Stretching competition to such extents can be self-defeating.
Let us work determinedly even if our pace is slow reminding ourselves of the saying "Slow and steady wins the race". More importantly, India must retain its own identity and refrain from playing second fiddle to China.


Hiren said...

Interesting. India has an English speaking population, a vibrant stock market and sound banking system that China lacks. Comparisons should be made between alike entities.

Satish said...

India's strength in existing fields should be retained and improved for facing challenges.