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Who would be the next global super power - India or China?
It is inevitable. The rate at which the economies of India and China are growing, it is time that one of them is crowned the undisputed global leader.
INDIA - A resilient and vibrant democracy, a multicultural nation with a complex mix of race, religion, caste and language and a rich artistic heritage that can be excavated all the way back to Harappa. Five million cellphones sold in the last month. GDP touching 10 per cent, sensex flirting with the 20,000 point mark, Indian computer scientists forming the bulk of Silicon Valley, IIT trained engineers working all over the world and also finding time to appear in Dilbert comics. Well, it is spring time in India.
On the other had, we have China. The story of superlatives here is not just restricted to the population figures. The largest and most modern stock exchange - Shanghai Stock Exchange; tallest TV tower (Shanghai) and the longest Olympic torch relay ever all the way to the Mt Everest. Well, China has been delivering and the whole world is taking notice.
Rapid economic growth, global trading ties, and expanding diplomatic cooperation have pushed China to the first rank of nations. The Chinese economy has been growing at 9.67 per cent since 1978. In 2006, it reached a staggering 10.7 per cent. China’s research and development budget has been growing at 20 per cent every year since 1999. In 2006, it was the second highest investor in research and development after the United States. The 2008 Beijing Olympics - the biggest sporting spectacle ever will be an occasion of pride and celebration for the Chinese.
Indian economy has seen a fairy tale ride since 1991. Post the economic reforms that led to liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation, India has become an attractive business destination for investors the world over. The booming IT, retail and entertainment industries are being lauded by the Western nations. It is clear that India is the place where the entire world wants to be.
The joint potential of these two Asian giants, commonly referred to as Chindia, is enormous. The camaraderie of these two nations if it becomes of the nature of Jai and Veeru could spell doom for the Britain-United States alliance. But gone are the days of the ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’, which was coined by the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Post the bloodshed of 1962 there has been insecurity and apprehension all around. Hu Jintao’s visit to India last year sent ripples of unease. Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi claimed that Arunachal Pradesh was entirely a Chinese territory. The quibbles about the McMohan line and the Indo China border seem anachronistic.
But in this golden era, the problems plaguing both these countries are quite similar. Poverty, as it stands, is the biggest hurdle for these two countries. The World Hunger Index of IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute) ranks India at an abysmal 94th rank out of 118 countries, just above Ethiopia and worse than any country in the sub continent save Bangladesh. China ranks 48.
The social record of these two countries is also nothing to boast off. On the United Nations Human Development Index, India ranks a poor 128th, whereas China is a tag better at 81.
Corruption can easily hamper the growth of these two countries. A survey of the Centre for Media Studies shows that 80 per cent of all Indians pay petty bribes totalling a whooping $ 4.8 billion for services they are entitled to. No wonder that the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International ranks India and China a joint 72nd. A third of the World’s diabetics are found in China and India. Pollution wise too, China has overtaken United States as the largest emitter of carbon dioxide. The Beijing Olympic athletes are delaying their arrival to Beijing because of the polluted atmosphere.
The vision of the future of these two countries should be to bring a greater awareness of their cultural and spiritual strength which formed the bedrock of their past achievements and should lay the foundation of their future accomplishments. The Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, both wonders of the world stand as a tribute to their ancient architectural prowess.
One of the Chinese ministers had recently said in the Media, that this is not a rabbit tortoise story where the Rabbit (China) will go off to sleep and let the Tortoise (India) overtake them. The competition and rivalry between these two countries is definitely heating up as they begin their ascent towards becoming an undisputed global super power. From a neutral perspective, it would be safe to say that China has won the sprint whereas India has been gearing up for the marathon.
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Ramesh Manghirmalani
None-nor India nor China Take my words, unless we change attitude of people like Sunil Mithals, Vijay Mallays, Ambani's and all industrialist or peole like Premji and Murthy's except Birlas and Tata they alone cannot help India, the attitude has to change. Soemtimes I do not get it. India's GDP stands at US $774 Billion. US GDP is at US $12,486 Billion !. Even at a current growth rate of 9%, 3 times that of the US, it will be decades before we catch up. So what's the concept of a Super Power that we believe we soon will be ? Per Capita income in India is still amongst the lowest in the world. Perhaps we should redefine GDP to mean Gross Domestic Potential rather than Product.... It is in unlocking the creative potential of India that explosive growth rates can be achieved. I think we are achieving the current growth rates more through the the export of the service sector. In doing that we are effectively servicing the growth of other economies. I disagree with that. Export, Export Export seems to have been the Mantra of the Indian economists. It cannot be a longer term strategy. Like a country that survives on export of it's raw material till it runs out. But in the long run we need to service our own industry, expand our domestic economy, increase standards of living within our own economy. We need to be able to withstand economic fall outs that will become more and more common in the globalized world economy. A strong home based economy, fueled by domestic demand and growth is what we need. So what do we need to do ? We need to encourage innovation, so that the next Microsofts, or the Google's of this world are born out of India. How do we encourage an an atmosphere of Entreprenuership that is willing to invest in Research and Developement. How do we encourage Entreprenuership that needs long term investment ? Our Banking system and the new Venture Capital systems are more and more geared towards qucker returns, or 'exit strategies' as they are called. Everyone talks about our great Demographic advantage. Soon we will have 15% of the toal population of teenagers in the world living and being Indian ! How do we unlock the creative potential that exists in this explosive area ? Prmary education is low, and of a terrible standard in most places. It is not an unsurmountable problem. By increasing the spread of broadband, we can have every Indian child interactively connected to classroom on the Web. It will ensure that kids in rural areas get the same education as the urban schools. There are very few Management schools. Fewer still technology schools. Educational institutions that encourage youth to explore their own creative instincts are practicaly non existent in India. It has never formed a basis of our learning process. If we do not address this issue now, at best we will have a work force that services the needs of the rest of the ageing world. At worst a restless population with little education, not enough jobs to keep them occupied. This young population will bring us down rather that lift us to Super Power status. Primary education is supreme. On the optimistic side. Imagine 20% of the world's youth (not just teenagers) , all with basic education, Broadband conntected, all exploring and connected globally. All coming from one country and one culture ! They will be the 'tipping factor' and change the cultural and therefore the economic and political dimensions of our planet. In their own favour. Then, we will truly be the Super Power that everyone talks about. That is our Gross Domestic Potential.
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