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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2610

India, China can rewrite global economic history

By J. N. Raina - Syndicate Features

Nothing of much significance was predicted on the eve of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India. Business was transacted between Hu and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the dotted lines. Neither India showed its grit and determination to settle the vexed boundary issue, which has bedevilled relationship between the two Asian giants since 1960, nor was it slated for discussion.

If any Indian had illusion about the settlement of the issue, that was blasted by China’s Ambassador Sun Yuxi, who fired the first salvo just before Hu’s visit, saying China still claims the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, raising protest and murmur in New Delhi’s political corridors.

Manmohan Singh, however, reciprocated in his discussions with Hu that "Any solution that would involve uprooting of settled populations cannot be acceptable to India." The Prime Minister framed his statement in a manner not to ‘offend’ his guest. There were some soothing words in the joint declaration like both sides should explore "fair, reasonable and mutually-acceptable settlement."

Chinese President favoured an early settlement of the long-pending ‘dispute’. It was agreed that India and China would pursue the settlement of the issue "as a strategic objective." Keeping this in view, Special Representatives, M K Narayanan and Dai Bingguo have been asked to expedite their efforts to ‘arrive at a boundary settlement’.

The border talks have been moving at a snail’s pace, trade talks apart. But it is a good augury that the two nations have agreed not to stall progress in other spheres of economic activity related to India-China ‘strategic relationship’. Both countries have agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders, in accordance with agreements signed in 1993, 1996 and 2005.

While India reassured China that it was committed to ‘one-China policy’, which was even reflected in the joint declaration, there was no such reciprocity from China’s side on Sikkim, Kashmir or Pakistan-related terrorism. India has recognized that the autonomous region of Tibet formed part of China’s territory, though almost without asking. The role of the Communist leadership in India is wanting in so many ways. They ought to use their influence and bring pressure on China to declare Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India. While China has grabbed Tibet, Jammu and Kashmir has acceded to India legally.

China is in a position to arm-twist Pakistan and halt it from extending its proxy war in India. There were friendly vibes of course. But the only worry is that there has been little forward movement on the boundary issue, plaguing the relationship for over four decades.

China has been claiming , at least in official circles, that Arunachal Pradesh (earlier known as Twang), comprising 90,000 sq km area, is part of Tibet. When Tibet was an independent country, a convention was held at Shimla in 1914, between the British government and the Tibetans. Twang was ceded to British Indian Empire. But China later rejected the agreement It occupied the ‘disputed’ territory in 1962 war with India, but returned the territory unilaterally soon after.

China claims large chunks of territory in the western sector of Ladakh, which it grabbed in 1962 war. Not only Aksai Chin plateau, but areas west and south-west of it. These areas came under China’s control only after the war. Tibet is entirely a different issue. It used to serve as a buffer zone.

Had India rebuffed China when it took over Tibet, the issue would have been of no consequence. There was hardly any protest. Those were the days when India was taken in by the slogan of Hindi-Chini bhai, bhai. The euphoria lasted till China finished its initial task. India did not react as desired. When China launched its aggression in 1962, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ordered his Army to ‘throw them (Chinese) away’, without sufficient arms. Either in earlier or subsequent statements he had said that not a blade of grass grows there on the snowy mountains .Such was the importance given to the border issues.

Beijing seems to have displayed flexibility in developing ties with India. But misgivings still persist. China is yet to officially accept Sikkim as part of India. China has no locusstandi in Sikkim, because it was a sovereign nation before it merged with India on its own.

Now positive signs are visible on the periphery of the enhanced relationship between the two countries, which have inked 13 agreements. The two nations which were ‘sick’ in 1950, because of the hangover of colonial past, worked out a ten-pronged strategy, to enhance cooperation in trade and nuclear energy. Manmohan Singh has remarked that ties must be made ‘irreversible’. Hu admitted that an early settlement of the border dispute was fundamental to better ties and strengthening strategic objectives between the two countries.

China’s decision to cooperate with India on civilian nuclear energy will augur well in a way to stop US from attaching strings to the nuclear deal, which is still awaits clearance from American Congress. The commitment on either side to increase bilateral trade to dollar 40 billion by 2010 is a healthy sign. Both countries have a huge potential to control 65 per cent of the world trade by 2020. The bilateral trade is expected to grow by then from dollar 12 billion at present to dollar 100 billion. The world’s geo-political landscape ‘will get transformed rapidly’.

Together India and China can rewrite world history on the economic front. CIA has genuine fears that ‘rise of China and India as global players is heralding an Asian century, in place of a receding American century."

India needs to emulate China. Twenty five years before, the per capita income of both countries was almost same. Today, China’s per capita income is nearly three times that of India. China’s achievements are phenomenal in every field. We stand nowhere in comparison, because there is no indecisiveness in China.

- Syndicate Features -

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