Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Untangling Issues From China

When I wrote my last post titled 'China - The Unchallenged Victor', little did I know that my next post would also be on China and that too, so soon. That is because I am not a sinologist. But going through the newspapers in the morning today, I found serious contradictions in a few news items which forced my thoughts to culminate in this post.
Politicians are well-known for backtracking on their statements they make once any controversy arises. They usually take refuge under a refrain 'I have been misquoted'. But what surprised me was the latest example of contradictions being made in the same breath by the ebullient Steel Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan. He said "The government should frame proper policies on the entry of Chinese companies in India". Interestingly, the above plea was made as Indian steel companies are apparently apprehensive that allowing Chinese companies with their ability to make cheap steel may threaten their existence. Instead of India trying to be competitive cost and quality wise, the honourable Minister is trying to stop steel companies from China entering India and that too when we are swearing by globalisation mantra. The contradiction did not end there as he went on to say "SAIL should look for acquisitions, like Tata Group's acquisition of Corus".
The startling comments on another issue coming from the other extreme of the political spectrum are quoted from a news item titled 'CPM's fixation with China continues' appearing in Economic Times. "These are historical issues. These are disputes. That's why issues are being discussed", Mr Yechury told reporters. He even suggested a resolution to the dispute: don't transfer populated areas on either side. In other words, Mr Yechury does not think that the Indian government is correct when it says that the whole of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to India.
So we have a Steel Minister and Indian steel industry scared of competition from China and yet are interested in spreading wings as part of globalisation opportunities. Then we have a national party CPM - part of the present UPA government who are flexing their muscles after improving their number of seats in Lok Sabha that does not support the Indian government's stand that the whole of Arunachal Pradesh is part of India.
I am really flabbergasted at the political fare spread before us. What should I choose and what should I reject?

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