Dr Ashwani Mahajan
On December 17, 2010, after the conclusion of a three-day visit of the then Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, a joint statement issued by India and China mentioned about an agreement to boost trade between the two countries to US$100 billion by 2015 and accelerate investment flows. At that point of time the statement said that there is enough space in the world for the development of both India and China and indeed enough areas for the two nations to cooperate. It was also decided to set up an India-China business forum to facilitate greater economic cooperation. In the same agreement it was also agreed to take measures to promote greater Indian exports to China with a view to reduce India’s trade deficit.
Those who support the strengthening Indo-China economic relations argue that there is a great support in mutual economic cooperation between the two countries, which are the two fastest growing countries of the world (although Indonesia has taken over the second place in the list of fastest growing countries, from India). India and China together constitute 18.8 per cent of global GDP on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.
Recently, during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who was on three-day official visit to India from May 19, interestingly, the same arguments were being repeated and almost same statements were issued and similar agreements were made. However, this time the mood of Indian people was totally disturbed. The reason was that recently China had trespassed Indian Territory and came 19 kilometers deep in Ladakh, challenging India’s sovereignty. Although according to the government’s claim the issue was closed after the withdrawal of Chinese troops from Indian territory, however India has paid a big price for this peace, as Indian government has conceded to their demand of removal of Indian military camps from Indian territory itself.
China attacked India in 1962 and since then it has been illegally occupying 4200 sq. kilometers of Indian territory. Since 1962 war, China has officially trespassed Indian territory at least 500 times. It has constructed dams on Brahmputra River at number of places which has resulted in regular flood/drought threat to Assam. China is indulging in drug trafficking, which is ruining our young generation. China is also indulging immorally and unethically in cyber terror throughout the world by disrupting and discrediting IT field, with the help of professional hackers named ‘cyber warriors’. Apart from encouraging insurgency in various parts of India by supplying arms and ammunition to the insurgents, China has been strategically trying to encircle Indian territory by making military bases around India (from territories, other than China’s own). This is all part of China’s policy of scaring India.
This time when Chinese Prime Minister visited India many agreements have been signed, which include, agreement on export of buffalo meat, fishery products and agreement on feed and feed ingredients, agricultural and processed food products, agreement on co-operation in the field of sewage treatment, etc. Lot of talk is being made about the significance of economic cooperation between China and India. However, when China has been indulging in the deliberate policy of pricking and scaring India, talking about economic cooperation between the two countries looks not only illogical, but also insensitive on the part of the present government.
Today trade is also a weapon. Any sensible government would always keep strategic issues in the forefront, while taking any decision about the economic cooperation. Unfortunately, Government of India has failed to keep in check the nuisance of China and adopt an apt policy to deal with China. Indian leadership has failed to exhibit the sense of diplomacy, both economic and strategic. Due to inept Indian response to the strategic and economic scenario, Chinese are having the last laugh. Third most powerful nation of the world should not behave in such a timid manner.
If we look at the figures of trade, no doubt we are heading towards the projected figure of US$100 billion trade for 2015 very fast. We find that the total trade between India and China, which was barely US$ 40.6 billion in 2007-08, had reached US$ 75.7 billion in 2011-12, and in 2012-13, though it is down to US$ 67.8 billion, balance of trade has further moved in China’s advantage. Unfortunate part of this growing trade between the two countries is the fact that it is increasingly getting imbalanced. Trade deficit with China, which was US$ 19 billion in 2007-08, reached US$ 39.6 billion in 2011-12 and US$ 40.8 billion in 2012-13.
India Trade with China
Year Export Import Balance
2007-08 10.8 29.8 -19.0
2008-09 9.3 32.1 -22.8
2009-10 11.5 30.8 -19.3
2010-11 15.5 43.5 -28.0
2011-12 18.1 57.6 -39.6
2012-13 13.5 54.3 -40.8
However, the targeted trade is within the realm of reality, but the targets always happen in their favour. This is making the situation even worse for India. We understand that balance of trade deficit is going to cross US$ 200 billion mark in 2012-13 and of this, US$ 41 billion is due only to trade with China. Current account deficit (CAD) in the balance of payment is making life difficult for India and Indian rupee is under tremendous pressure. External debt of India has increased by US$ 150 billion in only three and half years, since 2009. We have to deal with this crisis as well.
The proponents of Indo-China economic cooperation give a proposal that China should be encouraged to invest in infrastructure sector in India and thereby this trade deficit could be filled. But one fails to understand is the fact that why at all there should be deficit in balance of trade with China, at first instance. It is illogical and irrational to first allow to create deficit and then allow Chinese to own our infrastructure.
We understand that, today China and India are the world’s two major emerging forces. These two nations are advancing fast in technology, industry and all sectors of the economy including infrastructure. Unprecedented development in India and China and their emergence as economic giants have stunned the world, especially US and countries of Europe. However, it is unfortunate that instead of consolidating its gains, China is unnecessarily indulging in non-existing border disputes and military aggression against India, and thus instigating India to retaliate. Therefore, India has limited options.
India has to safeguard its borders. Construction of air strips in Arunachal and Kashmir is a step in that direction. However, perhaps these measures are not sufficient. The reason is that India still needs to strengthen its defence line against China, which may take some more time. However, the country’s security cannot wait for that. Diplomatic efforts may also be important to convince China. However, the possibilities of success of these efforts are extremely feeble.
Therefore, we need a third option. That option is economic boycott. We know that China’s emergence as a superpower has primarily been due to its growing industrial production and exports. Chinese products have made inroads into markets world over including India. Ever rising imports of Chinese products, including consumer goods, telecom equipments, power equipments, project and infrastructure goods; have caused havoc on the Indian economy. Our industry has been ruined, whereas businesses and industries in China are flourishing. With this money flowing from growing exports, China is set to enhance their strategic power, and has become a threat to India’s security.
At the same time a large number of Chinese firms are being granted infrastructure and other projects in India. China’s companies are growing at the cost of India’s security and economy. Therefore, to counter evil designs of China which is hurting the country’s dignity and self-respect, we should boycott Chinese and ban Chinese companies from contracts for projects in India. Fellow citizens do not buy goods made in China and government and private establishments do not grant contracts to Chinese companies, then only China would be made to realise the strength of India. Country or countries having enmity with our nation have to be given most ‘unfavoured nation’ treatment in national interest and in interest of world peace. Government must show its will power to teach China a suitable lesson.
(The writer is Associate Professor at Department of Economics, P.G.D.A.V. College, University of Delhi. He can be contacted at [email protected])
First get back the territory, then start dialogue—Indresh Kumar
RSS National Executive Member Shri Indresh Kumar, who keeps a close watch on the Himalayas, feels that India achieved nothing from the recent visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang. Talking to Organiser he said before starting any dialogue on border dispute with China, India should tell it in clear terms to first liberate our land which it has illegally occupied and only then we will talk to you. He stressed the need that India should come out of the confused state, which is sending wrong message in the entire subcontinent.
The RSS leader feels that those Indians who feel that China is strong should know that there is heavy restlessness within China also and not only the Tibetans but also the people of many other regions like Sikiang, Mangolia and Manchuria are demanding independence. “Therefore India should not think that there will be a war between both the countries in near future. Such a situation will never arise. The day we take a decision to ban the entry of Chinese goods in our country China will surrender before us,” Shri Indresh Kumar said.
Referring to the real objective of Li’s recent visit Shri Indresh Kumar said the repeated incursions by China in Ladakh and grant of stapled visa to the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir had generated strong resentment among the people of India and both China and India wanted to pacify this resentment. He said continuous incursion by China in the Himalayas is part of a well calculated policy and it has never been serious to resolve the border dispute. “It is a diplomatic strategy, which India has failed to understand or counter. Fact is that India should have taken the stand that there is no border between India and China. The entire Himalayas belong to India and China should vacate it. If we start any dialogue on border with China, it means we have accepted Chinese claim over Kailash Mansarover, which has never been part of China. India should commit no mistake in understanding this conspiracy of China,” he said.
Shri Indresh Kumar said India should also tell China in clear words that it should withdraw from PoK and Tibet. Rather China should start dialogue with Dalai Lama for granting autonomy or independence to Tibet. Apart from it, India should also impart military training to the youth. At least one crore youth should be trained for it. (FOC)
China quit Tibet
Tibetan activists defied security and managed to stage protests near the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi on May 20 where Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was staying. Some Tibetan students climbed on top of a structure in a filling station near the hotel and shouted slogans for a free Tibet. They also displayed a banner that read “Li Keqiang, Tibet will be free”, and their placards read “No Indo-China Border”. Several protestors were detained by the police. “India needs to toughen its stand on intrusion by China. They should demand China to demarcate the international boundary first and only then proceed with further dialogue and let their leaders visit India,” a protester said. Carrying banners, the protesters shouted slogans against the premier’s visit and urged New Delhi to talk tough with the neighbouring country. Member of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, Yeshi Phuntsok said China needs to solve its ongoing boundary row with India in addition to reaching a conclusion to the Tibet issue. (FOC)
Protest by Bharat Suraksha Manch against
Li Keqiang’s visit to India
Don’t allow India to be a dumping
ground for Chinese goods
The activists of Bharat Suraksha Manch held a massive protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on May 20 against the warm reception extended by Government of India to the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The protestors said the way China has been indulging in repeated incursions in the Indian territory and also staking claim over Arunachal Pradesh, its representatives even should not be allowed to enter the country until they change their attitude and promises not the repeat the mistake in future.
The protestors also came down heavily on the knee-bending approach of the Government of India and said India is basically helping China to exploit the Indian market. The Bharat Suraksha Manch demanded that no trade treaty should be signed with China until the border disputes are settled satisfactorily. The Manch also demanded immediate lift on the open market provided to China. “India should not allow China to use us as a dumping ground. No business deal should be entered compromising the national security,” the protestors said.
The protestors also presented a memorandum to the President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee requesting to apprise the nation of the present status of the 400 sq km land occupied by China. They also urged the President to ensure that Bharat should not become the dumping ground for the Chinese goods. The also sought ban on free trade with China.
The activists of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Hindu Manch, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Janata Party, Himalaya Parivar, Bharat Tibbet Sahyog Manch, Rashtrawadi Muslim Manch, Sainik Kalyan Parishad, FINS and Jankalyan Parishad also joined the protest.
Knee-bending approach proving suicidal
During the recent three-day visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang India extended red carpet to him. But fact is that China has calculatedly encircled India from all sides. It is increasing its presence politically, economically and infrastructurally in Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and even in Maldives. Even they have presence near the Andaman Islands. By and large their regional aspirations are very clear. India need to tread consciously but firmly.
The UPA government and its managers might be seen applauding the Li Keqiang’s visit but if we analyse the facts deeply we find that India gained nothing from this visit. I feel it is nothing but a Himalayan blunders for India. During this visit prominently eight agreements were signed between both the countries but none of them seemed likely to halt India’s growing concerns about its increasingly powerful eastern neighbour. The softness which was displayed by Chinese premier on the issues related to border disputes is only to gain substantially on business deals. This is a fact that China needs India more than any other nation for expanding its market. But problem is that we have not yet come out from the inferiority complex and do not want to talk to China with eye to eye.
The Indian military leaders, both retired and active, are of the clear opinion that India should pay less attention to Pakistan and more to China, which is completely a untrustworthy nation. There is a growing concern throughout the country about the Chinese intentions and highhanded ways of its rulers. China has grown increasingly assertive in the South China Sea and has been building ports in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. China’s ports, referred to as “a string of pearls,” have alarmed India and unnerved the United States as well.
One among the eight agreements signed between both the countries is related to Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, which is known for its religious value, cultural significance, physical beauty and thrilling nature. These pligrims conduct the yatra in very opposite and humialating atmosphere, as China doesn't help properly. There is only a vague clause in the pact signed now that the Chinese authorities will make further improvements to the existing facilities on the route of the pilgrims.
On the other hand the Indian government has launched a tourism campaign targeting the world’s fastest-growing Buddhist population with a direct sales pitch: visit India and reconnect with your faith. Indian officials hope that promoting the ‘Buddhist circuit train’ in China, which has been in operation since 2007 and stops along several pilgrimage sites in northern India, can help boost the low numbers of Chinese tourists who travel to India. They have begun marketing the train in China as a way for Chinese to reconnect with their faith, but “in comfort.” The train takes travellers, over the course of a week, to several cities associated with the Buddha’s life. Starting in New Delhi, the ‘Mahaparinirvan Express’ stops at places such as Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Varanasi, Sarnath, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Lumbini the Buddha’s birthplace and Sravasti in Nepal.
Several luxurious hotels and restaurants, luxurious buses and taxis, items used by Chinese and Buddhist people, websites, tourist information Center, books and guides are made available for the Traveller of all Buddhist countries from the Government of India and the private tour operators to make religious travellers and Yatri’s feel at home and comfortable in India.
Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said India had so far gotten little of value out of the visit, including no reassurance about the border. “My assessment is that China has gained more from these meetings than India,” he said. “The Chinese side conceded nothing.”
One measure of the continuing unease between the world’s two most populous nations is that their leaders will almost immediately visit the other’s rival. Li is scheduled to fly to Pakistan on May 22 and Manmohan Singh will go to Tokyo next week. Li could announce a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan when he visits Islamabad, an arrangement that India is unlikely to welcome.