Lessons of neighbourhood

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The Asian countries have many commonalities. Pan Asia there is a great belief in the values of the family system. It transcends geographies and ethnicity. The list can be long. There are similarly common problems.

There is a problem of terrorism in many parts of Asia including China, India, Middle East, South East Asia. Notwithstanding these constraints some countries have their lenses clear and others are still groping their way.

One of the common problems of Asia is the population. Consider the following figure. India has approximately 1225 million people. China has approximately 1343 million. It is estimated that India adds 28 million people every year. China is adding only 17 million. Like in many things else India’s population policy predates china. However, by present estimates we will overtake China, in population, by 2045.

The crises of monsoon, irrigation and agriculture are not autonomous variables .There are other variables also. The present government is talking much of elimination black money and expanding revenue collection. That is how it should be.
The facts of the case are: less than 3% of India’s population actually pays taxes. It is estimated that less than 6% of India’s population are PAN card holders. By another estimate 93% of the work force of India is working in the unorganized sector.

The media talks with huge alacrity about Indian business. There is nothing wrong with that but the fact of the matter is that fundamental changes which should have taken place are still awaited.

There is a good report on select implementation of technologies. That is welcome. What is required is a serious relook at the paradigms which determine the domestic priorities; lines of foreign policy and international investment. All of these have strategic overtones. Reference to China may be in order. Indian scholarships and research has still to come to grips with the significance of the One Belt One Road policy of China which got initiated in March 2015. Economically it is a grey area. Many Chinese scholars don’t expect repayment of 80% of loans to CPEC projects. The repayment on other OBOR project loans would be between 30 % and 50%. It is apparent that this burden is being accepted as a conscious choice. For this, the advantages the China would get are non-economic, including strategic and diplomatic.

Clearly OBOR is based on a paradigm of the aspiration of a great power. Student of Chinese history may recall in this approach and echo of the middle kingdom status of Chinese evolution. The aspiration of China to dominate Asia and its surrounding seas and oceans would be apparent to many.

A sub clause in making is that of China casting significant influence on the less developed parts of the east Europe. The recent experiences of China’s reaction to Hague court of Justice on matter related to South China Sea are a definite pointer on the aspirational contours of China.

The purpose here is not to eulogies or condemns China. The purpose is to focus on learning by observance of analogies and approaches from which some models can be drawn. 

If India has such an approach well indexed, it is still to surface in the public domain. However one must hasten to add that there is a refreshing beginning of the realization that it cannot be for India, ‘business as usual’.

China’s method of dealing with internal resistance movements may or may not be worth emulating but it certainly needs observation and analysis. Here one is not talking just of Tibet but also of Chinese provinces where ethnic descent is both about armorial strength and also drawing strength from beyond.

Some scholars working on the index of power potential have come to the conclusion that China became a potential great power around 2009 when its economic power exceeded 25% of what was with US. By 2015 it had grown rapidly to an estimated 42%, according to such index. The OROP doctrine and plan is the seed bed of Chinese economic world view with strategic tentacles.
India needs to be alert to developing its own desi model of handling growth linked with internal stability and external networking. 

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