Page 1

An India-China Economic and Cultural Council publication

September-October 2018 • ` 100


A I D IINN 20 E D A M 5 2 A N I H C

Vital for both Xxx xxxxxxxxx Indiaxxxxxxxxxxx and Chinaxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx

Ravi Bhoothalingam

Atul Aneja

Bhavna Singh

Wang Yonglin

Wenjuan Zhang

Xia Baohui

Make in India, Made in China 2025: Complementary, not competitive

‘If the Chinese learn how to do business in India they can make money anywhere’

India’s Energy Security: Overcoming geo-political speed bumps Differences in higher education reforms: India and China

Xinjiang at the core of the Belt and Road Initiative

Chinese and Indians must try to know each other more

ICBC MUMBAI BRANCH ICBC Mumbai Branch, established in


September 2011, is the first and only

world-wide network of ICBC Group and

bank from Chinese mainland in India so

our profound understanding of Indian

far. Regarding services as the very foun-

and Chinese markets, we are best posi-

dation of development, we are making

tioned to serve business in both coun-

every effort to build a “Bank of the First

tries to foster bi-lateral investments and

Choice� to our existing and potential







clients. Privileged with a full license in India, we are now providing a comprehensive range of financial products and

Office Address:

services including Corporate Banking,

801,8th Floor, A Wing,ONE BKC,C-66, G

Retail Banking, Investment Banking and

Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Band-

Trade Finance, etc.

ra(E), Mumbai-400 051

Corporate Banking I(Chinese Enterprises):+91-22-71110323 Corporate Banking II(Indian Enterprises):+91-22-71110335 Investiment Banking: +91-22-71110399 Trade Finance: +91-22-71110331 E-mail:

Vol 5, Issue 6, Sept-October 2018 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mohammed Saqib EXECUTIVE EDITOR Rajni Shaleen Chopra EDITORIAL BOARD Mani Shankar Aiyar PS Deodhar Prof Haixiao Song Dilip Cherian Shaodong Wang Amir Ullah Khan EDITORIAL TEAM Irfan Alam Audrey Tso Aishita Shukla DESIGN Manoj Raikwar OWNED, PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY Mohammed Saqib Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers of India under RNI No: DELENG/2011/43423 PUBLISHED FROM A-82, Zakir Bagh, New Delhi - 110025 ADDRESS FOR ALL CORRESPONDENCE India-China Chronicle B-59 (GF), South Extension - II, New Delhi - 110049 Telefax: 011-46550348 PRINTED AT Aleena Prints Mr. Naved Rasheed Block Z-II, 378, Shahadra, Delhi-110053 Mobile:+91-9582345886 E-mail : All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

All advertising enquiries, comments and feedback are welcome at The information contained in this magazine has been reviewed for accuracy and is deemed reliable but is not necessarily complete or guaranteed by the Editor. The views expressed in this digest are solely that of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC).

China’s Social Credit System: The citizen worthiness dossier


he rise of the digital economy, based on the internet and powered by the smart-phone, is changing the global paradigm of energy, security and everything else. The multi-polar era is coming of age, and multiple centers of power are straining for ascendance. In this multipolar world, China is rewriting the rules on the individual privacy of its people. By 2020, China will roll out the Social Credit System for its 1.3 billion citizens. Some scholars have called this China’s digital uni-polarity. Others believe that with the Social Credit System, China is erasing the rules on individual privacy in the digital space. India is battling multiple challenges faced by Aadhaar. The biometric identity system has 1.2 billion people on its rolls, and enables verification of each user’s identity. Aadhaar has been assailed as breach of citizen’s personal and digital privacy. The churn in the Indian digital space is on. With the Social Credit System, China has galloped far ahead of these plebian concerns. The Chinese experiment started with a social credit score pilot program in 2010, in a province near Shanghai. The program awarded points for trustworthiness and deducted points for negative behaviors. Other provinces joined the bandwagon with similar systems that monitored and recorded the citizens’ social media behavior, voting records, financial information, online purchasing, travel visas, credit history, tax payments, job promotions, legal matters etc. The idea took root as national policy when the State Council of China published the document titled “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System” in June 2014. The document laid down the framework for a national trust score that would rate citizens on how good or bad they are. Currently, this system is designated as optional. By 2020, it shall be mandatory and publicly available. Global commentary on China’s Social Credit System has ranged from ‘awed’ to ‘appalled’. Some called it a ‘futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control’. Others said it pushed the ethical boundaries of big data. Tracking information about your health, friends, family, relationships, your location through the geo-tracking software, apartment rentals, dating, access to government services and more. This is for real, not some futuristic science fiction. A UK analyst ominously called China’s Social Credit System “a big data gamified version of the Communist Party’s surveillance methods…the regime kept a dossier on every individual that tracked political and personal transgressions. A citizen’s dang’an followed them for life, from schools to jobs. People started reporting on friends and even family members, raising suspicion and lowering social trust in China. The same thing will happen with digital dossiers.” China, the nation of communist underpinnings and capitalist can-do, is gloriously unaffected by the nay-sayers. It is putting systems in place to rate the trustworthiness of its citizens. The government calls the Social Credit System a desirable way to measure and enhance “trust” nationwide, and build a culture of sincerity. “It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility,” says the Chinese government. On September 25, 2016, the State Council General Office updated its policy entitled “Warning and Punishment Mechanisms for Persons Subject to Enforcement for Trust-Breaking”. The overriding principle of the document: “If trust is broken in one place, restrictions are imposed everywhere”. How the social credit score plays out finally, we don’t know. Inconsistencies and contradictions are inherent in human beings. How will these impact real life scores for the Chinese? Let us wait and watch.

Editor-in-Chief Mohammed Saqib


here are so many ways in which the two ancient civilizations of India and China are joined. And yet, not all stories can be told. In August, I met a Chinese woman working in Gurgaon. She did not want to be identified, so I will call her Angela. She is married to an Indian doctor. The couple has a four-year-old son. They all live in a joint family in Faridabad, with the doctor’s parents. Every day, Angela travels from Faridabad to Gurgaon for work. “I am like any other urban Indian woman,” she told me. “I come for work, I go back and take care of my family,” she said. Angela said that initially, her parents-in-law were not happy that their only son wanted to marry a Chinese woman. The young man had gone to China to study medicine. Angela was amused to observe that both Indians and Chinese are curious about her marriage. Her husband faced similar queries, she said. “At the time of a job interview a couple of years ago, my former boss said to me, ‘Can I ask you a personal question? Why did you marry an Indian?’ I told him the reason is love. Maybe because of love and fate, my husband and I were meant to be together. Even my parents did not want me to marry a foreigner. But they did not stop me. They told me – It is your life. You have to be responsible for it.” The opposition to the marriage was more, Angela said, on her husband’s side. “I know that Indian customs don’t agree with the son marrying a foreigner. Maybe they had fears that I would not adjust with them, or adopt their customs,” she said.   In India, especially after marriage, adjustment is a crucial word. Angela said she has adjusted comfortably in her Indian way of life. At all family functions and get-togethers, she deftly wears a saree, covers her head and touches the feet of all elders – a valued tradition in India to seek blessings. “Initially, the relatives on my husband’s side were surprised to see me in a saree, with my head covered. They also felt happy, because they could see that I respect them from my heart,” she said. Angela felt that now, her parents-in-laws are happy with her. “What they require me to do in their society – I follow that. I believe that they are elder people. I must respect them.” She also stated that she is happy living in India, and happy with her life. “In a marriage, there are always small differences that happen. I have adjusted to the habits and traditions of my family. They have adjusted to me.” I had spoken to Angela at length because I was intrigued by this Indian-Chinese matrimonial bond. I thought I would write an article on this in the magazine, and carry the couple’s photograph with their son. Angela spoke to me comfortably, but said she would talk to her family about her interaction with me. She said I could publish the article only if her family allowed her. What happened after the interaction was interesting. I wrote the article and sent it to Angela.  There was nothing in it which would be considered offensive. It was appreciative of Angela, of her family, and their loving bond with each other. Angela showed to article to her family and asked if it could be published in the IndiaChina Chronicle. They refused. Communicating their decision to me later, Angela was completely unperturbed that they had refused permission for the article to be published. She accepted their decision in grace. “I am sorry that your time and effort got wasted. But my family has not allowed that the article should be published,” she told me calmly. Hence, I have protected Angela’s identity, but I am bringing this story to you. Of a Chinese woman who has adjusted so remarkably in a traditional Indian household. Angela’s story is about love, and it is also about compassion and wisdom. May we all be blessed with love, compassion and wisdom. Happy reading. 

Executive Editor Rajni Shaleen Chopra


Make in India and Made in China 2025: Vital for both India and China

Ravi Bhoothalingam

‘If the Chinese learn how to

10 do business in India, they

can make money anywhere’ Wang Yonglin


Leaning on China: The

40 ambitious challenges

of Asian nations, their choices and trade-offs Rajni Shaleen Chopra

India’s Energy Security:

16 Overcoming geo-political speed bumps Atul Aneja

Differences in higher

22 education reforms: India and China

Wenjuan Zhang

Xinjiang at the

28 core of the Belt and Road Initiative

Cultural, spiritual ties

46 between India and China India’s negative

48 branding in China

courtesy a train video Ma Yu

Indian films have

52 charmed China: It’s easy to figure out why Xinyu Chen

Bhavna Singh


Chinese and Indians must try to know each other more Xia Baohui

58 Gupshup 61 Recent ICEC events

September-October 2018 ▪





Vital for both India and China  Ravi Bhoothalingam


ake in India’ — a signature campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was launched in late 2014. The objective of the initiative is to transform India into a dynamic global manufacturing hub, and thus


radically enhance the prosperity of the Indian people. Just a few months later came an announcement from China’s State Council about ‘Made in China 2025’ — a set of eight policy measures. The objective of this initiative is to re-orient the Chinese manufacturing sector in line with China’s economic structural adjustment program. 

▪ September-October 2018

So, are ‘Make in India’ (MII) and ‘Made in China’ (MIC) competitive campaigns? Can they drive another wedge between these two nations? To answer this question, we need a more detailed understanding of both MII and MIC. The fundamental idea behind ‘Make in India’ is sound and unexceptionable. Globally, we have examples of nations that evolved into becoming manu-

facturing powers from their early beginnings as agrarian economies. With industrialization, they saw a rapid rise in their economic growth, employment and prosperity. The industrial revolution in Great Britain is the most celebrated example. The most recent and dramatic experience of evolving from an agrarian economy to a strong industrialized economy is that of China.  Exceptions to this phenomenon – of attaining riches without an industrial base – are nation-states that were abundantly endowed with natural resources. These thinly-populated nations achieved very high levels of prosperity without the economic push of a strong manufacturing sector. The same nations now find themselves at the mercy of price fluctuations of those very resources that led to their riches.   

India needs strong push in manufacturing

Where does India stand on the manufacturing ladder today? From the 2017 World Bank figures, the share of the industrial sector (including construction) in value-added terms in India’s total GDP stands at 26%. In comparison, Thailand is at 35%, Vietnam at 33% and South Korea at 36%. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh keep India company at 27% and 28% respectively. China (40%) and Indonesia (39%) are the leaders in Asia. China’s strategy through MIC is to move its manufacturing sector into even higher value-added areas through R&D, innovation, sustainability, marketing and structural reforms.  Manufacturing is much more than creating widgets in some smoky factory, with toiling workers driven by heartless owners. It is a complex matrix combining two vital processes. One part applies human labour, technology and ingenuity to raw materials, to create saleable goods. The other part connects these goods with markets where customers are willing to buy them.  Therefore, if ‘Make in India’ is to be a success and attain its goal of a 25%

Ravi Bhoothalingam has spent many years in the Indian and international corporate sector. He is currently a director of several companies and also Treasurer and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi.

If ‘Make in India’ is to be a success and attain its goal of a 25% share for manufacturing in the country’s GDP by 2022, India must ensure the coordinated working of expanded and improved infrastructure, logistics, skilled manpower, innovation and R&D share for manufacturing in the country’s GDP by 2022, India must ensure the coordinated working of expanded and improved infrastructure, logistics, skilled manpower, innovation and R&D. Two final elements are “the ease of doing business” (to eliminate administrative bottle-necks) and “connectivity” to link India’s factories to markets — both

domestic and international. To be true, ‘Make in India’ has not shown vibrancy in its short life so far. The reasons are manifold. These include both the protectionist climate in the world today, as well as poor conceptualization and implementation of the program within India. But diagnosing ‘Make in India’s’ ills

September-October 2018 ▪


ANALYSIS ECONOMIC PUSH is not the aim of this paper. The present objective is to see whether current circumstances and opportunities can be leveraged to propel ‘Make in India’ forward from its present situation. This is where China fits in.  

India is right destination for Chinese investment

Right now, China is rebalancing its economy away from investment to consumption. With huge idle capacity, there is a low return on China’s investment. The economic rebalancing is being done to ensure higher living standards for the Chinese people. Where can China invest its considerable foreign reserves and earn better returns, than it does through its large investments in US government bonds? Yes, in India! India needs vast investment in infrastructure, transportation and heavy industry to support ‘Make in India’. The investment required is to the tune of about USD 1 trillion over the next 10-15 years. Where else can India source this investment but from China! India has a stable political environment and a good investment climate, with the necessary regulatory controls and legal processes. India is also a very large market. The ‘Make in India’ program offers China the possibility of profitably manufacturing in India those products that are rendered unviable at home on account of rising Chinese labour costs. But ‘Make in India’ does not envisage India as just another low-cost manufacturer. Rather, the ‘Make in India’ combination of plentiful labour, skill development and digitalization was designed to make India the centre of ‘smart low-cost manufacturing’. This means that India’s competitive advantage would be low cost, but this will not be achieved through cheap labour alone. Digital applications will enhance labour productivity even with mass employment. It is here that India has missed the bus. Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangladesh (amongst others) have been the recipients of Chinese investments, in the shape of factories


Where can China invest its considerable foreign reserves and earn better returns, than it does through its large investments in US government bonds? Yes, in India! relocating from high-cost locations within China. As a result, whatever competitive advantages India had in the areas of textiles, garment-manufacturing, leather goods, toys etc has been largely eroded. But the situation is not irretrievable. To recapture the lost ground, a concerted push in three key areas is required. In two of these, China has considerable experience to offer. China also has the

▪ September-October 2018

incentive to do so, since an opportunity to penetrate the large and growing Indian market is one that few can ignore. The first area is infrastructure, especially energy, connectivity and transportation. This has been covered in a previous paragraph. The second is logistics, which looks at optimum manufacturing scales, and the creation of efficient supply clusters and delivery chains.

India needs skilled workforce Arguably, a predominant factor in Chinese manufacturing competitiveness has been its economies of scale and costeffective logistics. Good logistics can keep the manufacturing space wedged open for India for another decade, before artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to narrow it. The third factor is the training and utilization of labour. This is a highly contested and contentious subject. It deserves extensive treatment on its own. Suffice it to say here that India needs a skilled work force which is efficiently deployed and motivated to generate products of quality. Under-skilled and under-paid contract workers are not the answer. Neither is an inflexible, under-productive and over-managed ‘permanent’ work force (including the managerial component). India must evolve its own code of human resource practices ‘with Indian characteristics’ to achieve that magic balance. At the same time, China can source some of its consumption needs directly from India. Take medicines. India is rightly called the ‘pharmacy of the world’, with more than a 40% share of the US generics market. The healthcare bill for Chinese families can be significantly reduced if China buys Indian generic pharmaceuticals which are significantly cheaper. In recent months, a popular Chinese film  Dying to Survive depicted the true story of a Chinese businessman who smuggled cheap anti-cancer generics from India to cure his cancer-stricken wife. Arrested for the crime, the man was released after a social media campaign in his favour, and the import rules have since been liberalized. China is also a large supplier of the world’s outbound tourists. India is practically a virgin market for Chinese tourists. India is geographically close to China. India is also relatively an inexpensive destination, with an ancient culture and a large-hearted tradition of welcoming guests. Tourism to India can fulfill a large part of China’s future demand for leisure consumption in an

China may find that Indian management, banking, legal, accounting and technical skills—recognised the world over—could fill a huge gap in its search for ‘talent’ to power its manufacturing modernization enjoyable and cost-effective destination. With MIC, China intends to move up the value chain through the special development of 10 strategic hightechnology sectors. But beyond that aspect, MIC’s real impact will come through its contemplated modernization and integration of China’s entire industrial chain—including small and medium industries (SMEs)—into global supply and value chains. China hopes to accomplish this through the Internet of Things and largescale digitalization of SMEs, so that they may avail of the advantages of common standards, scale and logistics. In many ways, MIC is one generation ahead of MII in terms of the evolution of industry in the 21st century. So, does this mean that the two are inherently incompatible or even competitive? On the contrary, just as cross-generational understanding and communication strengthens families, MII and MIC have several complementarities.   

China must effectively utilize India’s talent pool China may find that Indian management, banking, legal, accounting and technical skills—recognised the world over—could fill a huge gap in its search for ‘talent’ to power its manufacturing modernization. Indeed, in a recent article, China’s “Global Times” has admitted that China has neglected to tap the Indian talent pool for management skills and information technology (IT). India’s engineering and management schools have produced several generations of talented graduates. Many of them have achieved distinction in global companies and research institutions around the world. This select population is culturally adaptive to widely diverse environments. Hence, it is no wonder that several of the worlds’ largest companies are headed by persons of Indian origin. Such a talent bank supported by Chinese and international investment can propel a range of transformative projects,

September-October 2018 ▪



The healthcare bill for Chinese families can be significantly reduced if China buys Indian generic pharmaceuticals which are significantly cheaper not only in China and India but also in their common neighbourhood, as in the wider world. China and India are both huge economies. There will always be many areas of overlap, where companies and R&D organizations are striving to find solutions to similar problems. The similarities too are many, since both countries face challenges such as water scarcity, pollution, a high disease burden, soil degradation, deforestation, urban congestion etc. This situation has great scope for collaboration, since the learning curve can be cut down through that process.


Further, in collaborative projects, it is not necessarily the partner with brute financial power that calls the shots. A smaller player who is endowed with the key intellectual property, technological knowhow, supply-chain network or customer base could well be in the driving seat. The area for such collaboration is vast, and the scale immense. The new ideas, products and innovations that emerge from such partnerships can be transformational for the world. Approached creatively and with an open mind, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Made in China’ are not competitive but comple-

▪ September-October 2018

mentary. India and China need to engage in a full-throated economic engagement which embraces both investment and trade, tourism and services, research and development. Being the second and fourth largest economies in the world, the more they connect, the greater opportunities there will be for both. India will be able to tap China’s investment surplus. China will be able to use India’s manufacturing and service sectors to raise its own consumption levels. Both can collaborate in R&D to sustain the global future. The two countries must seize this opportunity for the sake of future generations. 

DATANG ENVIRONMENTAL INDUSTRY GROUP “Time for India to move towards “zero-defect and zero-effect” “Zero defect in production with Zero effect on the environment” “We serve in protecting the environment for future generation Join hands with us for better living world”

Only by observing the laws of nature can mankind avoid costly blunders in its exploitation. Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us. This is a reality we have to face.

“We, the present generation, have the responsibilities to act as a trustee of the rich natural wealth for the future generations. The issue is not merely about climate change it is about climate justice.”

President of China Mr. Xi Jinping

Prime Minister of India Sh. Narandra Modi

China Datang Corporation (CDT) is an extra-large scaled power generation enterprise group and is a solely state-owned corporation directly managed by the CPC Central Committee with the registered capital of USD 2.9 billion. By the end of 2014, CDT’s assets both in operation and construction are distributed in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions national wide with the total installed capacity of 140 GW, surpassing the threshold of 100,000MW to become an extra-large scaled power generation enterprise in the world. In 2015, CDT is listed as No.392 in Fortune Top 500 companies. Datang Environmental Industry Group (DTEG) is specialized in FGD for DeSOx, SCR/SNCR & DeNOx technology and are in this business for last more than 10 years. DTEG entered in Indian market with its subsidiary company Datang Technology & Engineering India Ltd, registered in December 2013.


 DTEG – Specilized in Environmental Protection Services.  CDTE – CDT’s Overseas/Domestic project entity to provide comprehensive One-stop BOT/EPC (+F) services.  DTEI – CDTE’s Indian subsidiary to provide Environmental solution services in the areas of FGD, DeNOx & dust removal.

Datang Environmental Industry Group’s Major Achievements

• Completed installation of FGD for 183 units of Power plants of total 140 GW. • Completed installation of Denox for 153 units of Power plants of total 56900 MW. • DTEG has commissioned 1st FGD system in India of 600 MW unit of ILFS Power project of 2X600 MW at Cuddalore Tamilnadu. • DTEG also has vast experience of operation and Maintenance of FGD system for many power plants in China.

“Committed to efficient generation of Power with sustainable form on Pollution Control” Datang Environmental Industry Group, China

Datang Technologies & Engineering India Pvt Ltd, India

No. 120 Zizhuyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 10097, P.R. (+86)10-58389999 (+86)10-58389810

Room No. 2, 2nd Floor, Shreeram Bhuvan 772, Mumbai – 400014, Mb. +91 9910072333


‘If the Chinese learn how to do business in India

They can make money anywhere’  Wang Yonglin


hina Telecom is the world's largest fixed line, broadband and IPTV telecom operator. More than 10 years ago, China Telecom started the global transformation from traditional basic telecom service provider to integrated information service pro-


▪ September-October 2018

vider. Worldwide, we provide a very wide range of telecom services like IPLC, IEPL, MPLS-VPN, SDWAN, IP TRANSIT, IDC, CLOUD, ICT and so on. In India, we cater to the requirement of Chinese companies regarding bundle ICT solutions like CCTV, access control, network equipment and passive cabling. Currently, we are focusing on the business of Chinese companies in India. Having lived in India for so many

Republic of China, visited Gujarat. After that, positive sentiment regarding India got significantly strengthened, and investment grew rapidly. Some of the major areas where investment grew in India included home appliances, electricity equipment, electronic equipment, telecom equipment, mechanical equipment, the chemical industry, aluminium wheels for motorbikes, mobile phone industry etc. Investment grew rapidly in all these areas. The growing Chinese investment in India was very obvious. We witnessed their interest in the Indian market as more and more Chinese companies came to India to explore business opportunities. But during the Doklam crisis from June-August 2017, this sentiment was considerably weakened. The spillover of this negative sentiment was felt till April 2018.

Wuhan Summit built positive sentiment Wang Yonglin, Managing Director, China Telecom India Pvt. Ltd. ● Chief Representative of China Telecom Global Limited in SAARC region ● Deputy Chairman of Chinese Enterprise Chamber in India ● Chairman of Corporation Citizenship Committee (China Chapter) of International Business Linkage Forum (IBLF) India (IBLF is the local partner and organizer for China India Forum)

The Chinese corporate sector knows that India is a huge market, and in the long run they will have to invest in India. But they are concerned about the low returns from the Indian market years, I have studied the development of Chinese companies in India from close quarters. Before the unfortunate Doklam standoff which happened in 2017, every week some delegation from China would come to visit India and inspect the market. Because of my position and my experience

of living and working in India, I was regularly interacting with such delegations. These business delegations came for market research. Many such companies also showed a strong interest in investing here. From 2010 to 2014, there was steady growth in business with China. In 2014, Xi Jinpin, President of the People’s

The Wuhan summit was a major milestone in the contemporary ChinaIndia relations. The confidence of the Chinese corporate sector grew again in India after the Wuhan summit. Now again, the Chinese corporate sector wants to discuss India. They want to know more about the Indian market. There is another factor that is notable here. From 2009 to 2014, the growth remained restricted to trade between China and India. But Chinese investment in India did not witness the same growth during that time. Especially after the Doklam stand-off, many Chinese companies lost confidence in the market. They felt that investment in fixed assets was not safe. Many companies put their business plans for India on hold during this time. The sector which witnessed a growth in both trade and investment was the mobile phone sector. From June 2015 to June 2017, there was a major focus of China’s mobile phone manufacturers on the Indian telecom industry. The policy change of the Indian government and the hike in the custom duty on handsets

September-October 2018 ▪



Wuhan summit

forced the Chinese companies to shift manufacturing to India. After the confidence inspired by the Wuhan summit, the Chinese corporate sector is again coming back to investigate the Indian market. Almost the whole ecology chain of Chinese mobile phone industry is investing more in India. Due to the twists and turns in the Indian market, growth in Chinese investment in India has not been as high as it could have been. The confidence is recovering now, but we are watching many complicated factors at play here. Firstly, though the Chinese corporate sector knows that India is a huge market and in the long run they will have to invest in India, they are concerned about the low returns from the Indian market. Most of the Chinese companies complain that the prices in the Indian market are very low, and it is very difficult to make profit.

Chinese face visa problems in India

The Indian government's visa policies vis-a-vis the Chinese fluctuate from time


to time. It is very difficult for Chinese professionals to get employment visa in India. For business visa also, the policy fluctuates, and there are many restrictions. Reporting to the FRRO (Foreigner Regional Registration Offices) is not an issue, but the process is very long. After the e-visa policy, getting the business visa has become a little simpler. But the India-stay period provided to the Chinese is very limited. Chinese investors who have to set up factories here, start construction on fixed assets or undertake other bona fide long term business activities need more time to stay in India, so that they can get the required work done. Most of the time, the Indian embassy and consulates provide the business visa to the Chinese for 60 days only. After 60 days, the business visa holder has to go back to China to renew the visa. The business visa cannot be renewed from here. The time taken for providing employment visa can be three months, or sometimes more. The Chinese who stay in India for five years have to go back to China to

â–Ş September-October 2018

renew their employment visa. During that period, there is a high possibility that their visa renewal may be rejected by India. Actually only the Chinese who have lived in India for many years will seek the Indian visa for a long time. This is because they have adjusted to living in India, and also have an understanding of the Indian business environment. If a Chinese has stayed in India for five years and wants to stay on more, it means that the Chinese is comfortable here. Such Chinese can be very good brand ambassadors for India. With their accumulated experience in India and their understanding of the local market, they will encourage their countrymen to invest in India. At the same time, such Chinese also understand the Chinese mind. They can correctly address the fears and concerns of the Chinese who are looking at the Indian market. The Indian government should realize their value and encourage such Chinese to stay here for longer time. Maybe India can consider adopting a Green Card policy for foreigners, just like China did in recent years.

India-China Business Forum meeting

Challenges faced by the Chinese in India

In May, September and October of 2018, I prepared several orientation courses for the visiting Chinese delegations on how to understand India. In the orientation courses, I spoke of the many challenges that the Chinese can face in India. I told them of ways in which they can successfully deal with these challenges and feel comfortable in India. For example, the natural environment conditions of India are a point of concern for the Chinese. Delhi is very hot in summer and very smoky in winter, especially after Diwali festival. One also has to worry about diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya. Secondly, the food habits of the Indians are completely different. Adapting to Indian food is very difficult for the Chinese. Fortunately, we have some good Chinese restaurants here now. It is a big help. I also encourage the Chinese that they should try to get used to Indian food. In my orientation courses that I made for the visiting delegations, I also cautioned the Chinese to be sensitive to the

Indian government's visa policies vis-a-vis the Chinese fluctuate from time to time. It is very difficult for Chinese professionals to get employment visa in India. For business visa also, the policy fluctuates, and there are many restrictions differences in religion here. The Chinese can control themselves very well in different situations only if they are making money. But investment returns in India are low, and doing business is very difficult. Legal compliance is tough here. The regulatory compliance is very strict too. Maybe all foreign companies have the same experience, since they operate in an unfamiliar environment. Chinese companies that come to India should expect that they will face tough regulatory compliance. They should be ready to accept that the Indian regulatory

September-October 2018 â–Ş


BUSINESS VALUABLE LEARNING IN INDIA systems or tax systems can be very complicated. They should not expect the same systems here as in China. When I interact with the visiting Chinese corporate delegations, I encourage them that they should invest in India. Eventually, they shall benefit from investment here. This is because along with China and the United States, India is among the biggest economies

of the world. Sometimes I tell the Chinese that even if they can’t make money from the Indian market, they can still make use of it to optimize their cost structure. This is because the huge market volume can affect the supply chain, and the procurement price. I consistently tell the Chinese corporate sector that with patience, they can get good business from India.

The Chinese can control themselves very well in different situations only if they are making money. Chinese companies that come to India should be ready to accept that the Indian regulatory systems or tax systems can be very complicated


â–Ş September-October 2018

Chinese can learn hugely from Indian business environment

From my observation of the Indian market, I firmly believe that if you have business experience in India, you have the ability to scale heights in the world's top three economies in the near future. For any Chinese businessman, experience of the Indian market will be very precious. It is possible that the Chinese fear a hard life in India, due to the difference in lifestyle here. Also, as compared to Chinese cities, there is not much entertainment even in Delhi. If a Chinese can face this kind of hard life, no matter where he goes, he will not face any challenge. Another problem faced by the newcomer Chinese is that Indian English is very difficult to understand, because of the Hindi influence in accent. This is a big stress in communication. Indians speak very good English. But the accent is very

different compared to what the Chinese are used to. In civilizational terms, Chinese and Indians are very similar. In our interactions, in our attitudes, in our mindsets, there is great similarity. The relationships, the social values – these are very similar in India and China. At a deep level, China and India share many common features. I tell the Chinese businessmen who meet me that the India experience is very important for you. Also, the Chinese can make money in India only if they accumulate their Indian experience and their Indian learning to a good level. The Chinese should interact with Indian businessmen, and learn from them how to do business in India. I tell the Chinese businessmen, if you can learn how to do business in India, you will know how to make money anywhere. If the Chinese understand the Indian people's methodology to do business,

The India experience is very important for all Chinese businessmen. The Chinese should interact with Indian businessmen, and learn their good business practices they will benefit greatly. The CEOs of some of the top multinationals are Indians. This is because Indians have many strengths in the corporate sector. Firstly, Indians are very wise about cost management, definitely more than the Chinese. Indians can always squeeze the best price in the market. Secondly, Indian documentation is very meticulous and complete. Another Indian strength is the ability for intelligent sourcing. Indians are very good at competitive

and economic sourcing. There are also some weaknesses on the Indian side. Since there is major focus on price and costing, quality may be neglected. Adherence to delivery time may be neglected. Lack of skilled labour is a problem in India. Such factors may limit Indian performance in sectors like manufacturing and construction. But in the public service industry like hotels and hospitality, Indians are very good and score high. ď ą

September-October 2018 â–Ş



India’s Energy Security:

Overcoming geopolitical speed bumps  Atul Aneja


ndia’s search for energy security is undergoing a rapid transformation. Global dependence on fossil fuels continues to be heavy. The rise of the digital economy, based on the internet and the smart-phone, is changing the paradigm of energy security. The energy supply chain is now covering new materials, which are required in ever-increasing volumes.


Take the case of Lithium, which is available in plenty in relatively-unstable countries such as Afghanistan. Lithium has emerged as an important, if not critical energy resource in the digital economy. It is an essential element for making smart-phone batteries. Smart-phones, laptops and tablets, using Lithium-ion batteries, have become essential for making informed decisions. These result in rapid improvement of efficiency and output at the workplace, in an economically integrated world.

▪ September-October 2018

The unfinished revolution in transportation, brought about by the promise of the hybrid and battery-driven electric cars, is expected to raise an exponential demand for Lithium-ion batteries. Battery electric vehicles derive all power from battery packs. They have no internal combustion engine, fuel cells, or fuel tank. These all-electric vehicles include bicycles, scooters, rail cars, watercraft, fork-lifts, buses, trucks and cars. The growing digitization of the economy and the new means of transpor-

tation are thus mutating the search for new energy resources. These additional resources are likely to make a major contribution in fulfilling India’s energy demands. This trend is only likely to accelerate in the future. Concerns regarding climate change and fears of a nuclear disaster post-Fukushima have also raised the demand for renewable energy as part of the energy security pool. This has diversified the demand for materials that are relevant in the generation of electricity. What has not changed is the impact of geo-political shifts on energy security. What are the ways to impart greater geo-political stability to fortify India’s long term new and conventional energy security? India’s energy security can be ensured only as part of collective energy security, in partnership with the countries in Asia. Globally, the dispersion of resources is uneven. Hence, energy security, after the advent of the age of the internal combustion engine, has never been a solo, self-sufficient enterprise. The necessity for oil in the hydro-carbon era has driven centers of consumption to go far beyond their borders to secure access to oil, often based on a relationship of dominance, if not outright coercion. In his classic, ‘The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power’, Daniel Yergin has powerfully argued that in tune with the invention of the internal combustion engine, access to overseas oil fields, especially in West Asia, was primarily responsible for both the world wars of the 20th century. This includes areas such as Abadan in Iran, among several others. In the current Asian context, India, China, Japan and South Korea’s heavy energy reliance on external resources in West Asia is well known. Europe has also depended heavily on Russian gas, even during the heydays of the Cold War. But as we enter the post-hydrocarbon era, the rise of the multi-polar international system, the emergence of renewable energy and revolution in transmission technology, the indispensability of achieving collective energy security

Atul Aneja is Associate Editor of The Hindu, currently stationed in Beijing.

The multi-polar era is coming of age. Multiple centers of power are opening fresh room for geo-political manoeuvres. With this, the stage is set for brainstorming new rules supporting collective energy security as the pre-condition for enhancing national energy security

based on a non-coercive model of win-win collaboration has become unambiguously evident.

UHF transmission

In the field of transmission technology, Ultra High Frequency (UHF) electric transmission has been a game changer. The drive to lower costs of renewable energy, especially solar and wind, is adding a new dimension to external energy inter-dependence and active collaboration. UHF technology that enables elec-

tricity transmission over long distances is spurring a new round of cooperative regionalization for achieving energy security. But the powerful impulse for greater interdependence and connectedness among countries across a vast geographic space, and the vast potential of achieving collective energy security, is hampered by the historical baggage of geo-political rivalries and suspicions. These, in turn, inhibit cooperation among nation states. The mismatch of old mindsets and new opportunities remains a major chal-

September-October 2018 ▪



Representatives from Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia sign the MOU in Beijing. Image credit: SoftBank Group

lenge in realizing the vast potential for multilateral cooperative energy security.

UHF and Renewables—the rise of the Asia Super Grid The triple-disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown that hit the northeast of Japan in March 2011 has been a turning point in re-thinking energy security. In Japan, Masayoshi Son, a founder, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Soft Bank Group, a Japanese multinational telecommunications and internet corporation, has been making a significant contribution in re-imagining energy security. Having perceived the dangers of nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Son felt the need to replace nuclear power with safer and cleaner renewable energy for a better future. The aversion to nuclear technology is particularly understandable, for it feeds the collective memory of the horrors of experiencing nuclear attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To accelerate the deployment of clean, safe, and affordable renewable energy, Son founded the Renewable Energy Institute (REI). This led to the conceptualization of the “Asia Super Grid (ASG)” in September 2011. ASG goes beyond Japan and


includes other Asia countries, including India, to maximize the usage of renewable energy by taking advantage of diversity in loads and resources. Consequently, the Soft Bank Group established the SB Energy Corporation to set up renewable electricity generation plants in Japan. The company also sought partners outside Japan to supplement renewable energy supplies. Mongolia was tapped for its massive wind energy potential. As a result, SB Energy Corp. established Clean Energy Asia LLC with Newcom LLC, a Mongolian conglomerate as partner. The joint venture has secured a land-leasing right in the Gobi Desert for the next 100 years to develop and operate 7 GW worth of wind farms. The company also formed a joint venture company called SBG Cleantech Ltd in India, with India’s Bharti Enterprises Pvt. and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, to develop a 350 MW solar PV farm in Andhra Pradesh. After securing sufficient renewable energy capacity, the next challenge for Son was to move the renewable energy to Japan and throughout Asia. Here the Japanese entrepreneur found willing partners in Liu Zhenya, a former chairman of State

▪ September-October 2018

Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), and Hwan-Eik Cho, president/CEO of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), a South Korean public power company. In March 2016, these three organizations were joined by Rosseti, a Russian electric power and grid operator. The quartet signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to conduct technical and economic feasibility studies toward creating the international transmission network in Northeast Asia. The agreement has yielded the idea of establishing a “Golden Ring” serving most of Asia. To turn the idea into reality, it is envisaged that the wind energy generated in Mongolia can be transmitted to Japan, through China and South Korea via undersea transmission cables. Besides, hydropower generated in Russia could be delivered to Japan and other nations. Son refers to these two energy transmission routes as the “Golden Ring” in Northeast Asia.

Taking Advantage of Diversity in Loads and Resources

Mika Ohbauashi, director of REI, has stated that this inter-regional grid integration

can help maximize usage of renewable energy, which is dispersed geographically. Once the grid systems are joined, it would be possible to take advantage of different load patterns, including peaking periods. By taking advantage of the diversity in loads and resources, the ASG can increase the flexibility of the grid systems in each nation. Renewable energy is also proving cost effective. For instance, the cost of bringing hydro-electricity from Russia to Japan via under-sea transmission cables is below 10.5 cents/kWh. This is the cost of electricity generated by a coalfired power plant in Japan. Similarly, the cost of bringing wind energy generated in Mongolia via China and then South Korea to Japan is also estimated to be below 10.5 cents/kWh. “Renewable (energy) is clean and safe, but used to be very expensive,” Son of Soft Bank has been quoted as saying. He adds: “By sharing renewable energy with each other, renewable (energy) is now clean, safe, stable and low-cost.” Liu Zhenya, formerly of China’s State Grid, appears to be more source-neutral where renewable energy is concerned. Liu has proposed a Global Grid that will draw electricity from windmills at the North Pole and vast solar arrays in Africa’s deserts, and then distribute the power to all corners of the world. Among other benefits, according to Liu, the system will produce “a community of common destiny for all mankind with blue skies and green land.” India can become a major fulcrum in the Asia Super Grid. Soft Bank had declared that construction is under way on a 350 megawatt solar plant in India’s Andhra Pradesh state. The company aims to establish a 20 GW project in India eventually. According to a map of the Asia Super Grid released by the REI, wind electricity generated in Mongolia would be transited to Beijing. From the Chinese capital, it will be sent to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in south-west China. Chengdu would be the junction from where power would be transmitted across Tibet to Bhutan. From here, it would head towards

Tsinghua University professor Li Xiguang (second from left), in Gwadar to participate in a maritime conference. Credit: The Hindu

India’s energy security can be ensured only as part of collective energy security, in partnership with the countries in Asia. With the rise of the multi-polar international system, the emergence of renewable energy and revolution in transmission technology, the indispensability of achieving collective energy security, based on a non-coercive model of win-win collaboration, has become unambiguously evident Delhi, and would be sold at a cost of $ 0.14 per KW/h. Under ASG projections, Dhaka is another junction from where electricity would be transmitted to Chennai at a cost of $ 0.1 per KW/h.

The Geo-political Challenges

The ever expanding nexus of grids envisages India’s role both as a mega-consumer as well as a platform for power supply

and transit to Sri Lanka. Further opportunities can be explored in this direction. Similar to Europe’s coal and steel community, which became the precursor of the European Union (EU), the ASG can become the nucleus of an Asian Union (AU) in the years to come. But challenges remain. While the economics of an ASG seems to be in place, geo-political thought is severely lagging behind. Mistrust between India and China,

September-October 2018 ▪



"The ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative of Xi Jinping’s government is likely to become the lynchpin of Chinese engagement with the world." Picture shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with the Chinese President at the Sa'dabad Palace in Tehran, Iran. Credit: The Hindu

India can in principle support China’s New Silk Road or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). As a reciprocal measure, China needs to integrate, with due credit, India’s connectivity initiative under the Act East Policy. The Chinese have signaled that they are ready for a dialogue in this regard along with a massive trust-deficit between India and Pakistan, is hampering the realization of the full potential of collective energy security. This is accentuated by China’s iron-brother partnership with Pakistan. India’s full participation in the ASG is thus likely to face severe headwinds, especially if one of the routes of power transmission is close to where the Tibetan plateau meets Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. How do we then resolve the massive


geo-political grid lock? A few ideas can be explored in this regard. One of the elements of a breakthrough may lie in the active pursuit of the concept of interdependence. Thus, if India is to buy electricity transiting through China, it should also have the leverage of exporting energy to China, thus locking the two countries in a circuit of inter-dependence. This may be possible, for instance by re-visiting the stalled Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, and expanding its route

▪ September-October 2018

towards China through India’s north-east. India can benefit substantially by boldly and formally initiating the introduction of two significant players — Russia and China — into this equation. A few years ago, the Russian gas giant Gazprom had expressed its keen interest to participate in IPI. Gazprom's representative in Tehran, Abubakir Shomuzov, had called for the extension of IPI to China, in an arrangement that would tie Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran together in a giant project. Russia's participation in the IPI would be crucial for India. With Russia firmly on its side, India can, with greater ease and confidence, engage with China in this cooperative enterprise, possibly utilizing the existing Russia India China (RIC) framework as a subset of the BRICS grouping for a dialogue. The energy committee of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) where all four countries—India, Russia, China and Pakistan are present, can emerge as another platform for detailed discussions. In the debate on the extension of IPI to China, the route that this pipeline can pursue would be of vital importance. If India has to take advantage of this extension, it has to insist that the pipeline passing through Iran and Pakistan should go through an Indian transit corridor, and no other alternative route before entering China, through the northeast and Myanmar. In case the physical extension of the pipeline to China becomes difficult due to technical consideration, the northeast can become a giant center for energy processing. The electricity produced can then be transmitted through Myanmar and Kunming, in China’s Yunnan province. Given Yunnan’s advantageous geographic location, surplus energy accumulated from several sources maybe supplied to neigbouring three countries: Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. This has the potential of enmeshing the IPI-plus into a larger New Silk Road initiative, covering a significant footprint in Southeast Asia. Such an arrangement would greatly help in making the IPI-plus arrangement more stable and workable.

With China, Pakistan's all-weather friend as well as some of the members of the ASEAN as the final beneficiaries, Islamabad would find it impossible to impede gas supplies to India.

India’s ‘grand bargain’ with China

There are elements of a ‘grand bargain’ with China and Pakistan that may be worthy of consideration to allow India to draw full benefits through its participation in the ASG. These can be listed as follows. a) In return for the purchase of electricity routed through China, India may need to impress upon Beijing to exert its full weight to persuade Pakistan to clamp down on terrorism. b) China needs to exert its influence on Pakistan to accept the ‘soft border’ approach to Jammu and Kashmir. This is a 2005 idea, which essentially means making the Line of Control (LoC) a de facto border, proposed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf. In a recent interview with The Hindu, Chinese scholar Li Xiguang of the Tsinghua University has supported the idea, saying it was in tune with the thinking of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. India can in principle support China’s New Silk Road or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). As a reciprocal measure, China needs to integrate, with due credit, India’s connectivity initiative under the Act East Policy. The Chinese have signaled that they are ready for a dialogue in this regard. Once a ‘grand bargain’ is structured and achieved, it would spur rule-based access to resources for collective energy security, be it lithium in Afghanistan, uranium in Uzbekistan, oil in Siberia’s untapped hydrocarbon reserves or the enormous hydro-power potential of Russia, China’s Tibetan plateau, Myanmar and North East India.

Hard Thinking, Smart Moves

India has to rework its energy security

Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., explains at a Tokyo symposium in September that clean energy may become a cheaper power source than coal if countries in Asia are connected by grids and undersea cables. Image credit: SoftBank Group

Renewable energy is clean and safe, but it used to be very expensive. By sharing renewable energy with each other, renewable energy can be clean, safe, stable and low-cost blueprint in view of the emergence of the digital economy, which has enlarged the basket of its energy resources. In turn, this has implied that certain geographies, such as lithium rich Afghanistan, have now become areas of ever abiding interest. Technological changes such as UHF transmission, and making renewable energy cost-effective should also have a big impact on India’s energy security planning. The global geo-political map is transforming rapidly. The era of the unipolar world inaugurated after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union is receding fast. Instead, the multi-polar era is coming of age. Multiple centers of power are opening fresh room for geo-political manoeuvres. With this, stage is set for brainstorming new rules supporting collective

energy security as the pre-condition for enhancing national energy security. For several reasons, including making clean energy affordable, the framework for energy security is already regional. India would do well to enmesh its energy security with the proposed ASG, provided it can play a proactive role in resolving two chief geo-political obstacles that will come in the way: the relationship with China and Pakistan. It is India’s capacity to drive a ‘grand bargain’ with China and Pakistan that would determine whether India would manage and maximize its energy security through a regional Asian collective enterprise. Its inability to do so could severely hamper its sustained growth prospects, in the promising era of the New Silk Road. 

September-October 2018 ▪



Differences in higher education reforms: India and China  Wenjuan Zhang


ormer Indian President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee said, “No country can aspire to become a sustainable superpower without becoming a knowledge powerhouse.” As two of the fastest growing economies in the world, India and China have realized the importance of knowledge economy, and


the critical role of higher education for building such an economy. I have observed that the approaches of China and India differ, with respect to reforms in higher education. These approaches have evidently been influenced by the two country’s economic development path and governance structure.

The Different Strategy of Liberating Higher Education One of the most neglected discussions

▪ September-October 2018

when we compare India and China are the different strategies adopted by the two countries for liberating higher education, to meet the demand of economic liberalization. The strategy of economic liberalization in India followed the principle of large-scale privatization. This included the field of higher education. The best way I can speak of China’s reforms in the higher education sector is this: China has tried to infuse its public universities with some

While China has tried to infuse its public universities with some flavor of marketization, India has created good space for the growth of private universities

Wenjuan Zhang is Associate Professor at Jindal Global Law School and Executive Director, Center for India-China Studies.

flavor of marketization. The Indian approach has created good space for the growth of private universities. But the approach has left the challenges faced by public universities untouched. According to data released by the India’s University Grants Commission (UGC), by the end of September 2018, India had 318 private universities. This is about a third of the total universities in India – public and private. There are more than 36,000 colleges in India. More than 60% of them

are in the private sector. This shows us that private universities and colleges have a robust growth in India. Currently, private universities in India still face several challenges. Many private universities have been established by big corporate houses. In this way, they are another area of business of the corporate houses for the purpose of profit-making. There is very little external monitoring in the operations of private universities.  Their accountability is mainly enforced

September-October 2018 ▪


INDIA-CHINA EDUCATION by the market. But their potential is huge. While many private universities are profit-oriented, one can see some of them operating with vision, and with the mission of pursuing world-class excellence. This self-discipline mechanism among Indian private universities of achieving global standards will enable them to be competitive not just domestically but also globally. In addition, it is expected that the constitutional protection in India, along with freedom of expression and judicial review, should help ensure a liberal political environment for academic freedom and critical thinking in private universities. The main focus of the public universities in India, meanwhile, is to provide access to higher education with low fee and the adequate reservation for minorities. These institutions are insulated from market pressure. A negative fall-out of this insulation is that there is little incentive or autonomy to invest and reform themselves. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen was critical that Indian public universities function like government agencies – bureaucratic, and low on efficiency. I met an American Indian student of Harvard University four years ago, who wanted to connect his university with some Indian universities for collaboration. He told me that some government universities in India responded to his email a year later. He was shocked by the lethargy in their approach.

The Chinese approach The Chinese approach towards reforms in the higher education sector has been different. China has encouraged its public universities to be a little market oriented but with little attention to the development of private universities. In 1999, the Central Government released the ‘Action Plan for Building Chinese Universities Meeting the Demand of 21st Century’. This vision led to a big policy shift in the higher education sector. The shift happened in their focus. It shifted from a phase of cultivating elites to a phase of expanding public


access to higher education. Within the political boundary, universities have been granted administrative autonomy. This includes modest increase of tuition fee, some discretion to develop marketoriented programs, some autonomy to develop joint programs with foreign universities, and some space to transfer intellectual property into universityowned enterprises. The model also made the public universities financially more independent, since the university’s funding could now be partly from the government, and partly from the market. According to the data released by the Ministry of Education in China, by May 2017 there were 2,631 universities in the country, including 265

▪ September-October 2018

independent colleges. The reform has come with tradeoffs. The fast expansion of public universities has made it difficult for private universities to compete with them. From the 1980s, China allowed the establishment of private universities. According to Xinhua News, by May 2016 there were 417 private universities in China. Almost all of them belong to thirdtier in qualitative terms and reputation, struggling with student enrollment and outstanding faculty recruitment. Hurdles for the development of private universities are not just from the market, but also from the glass ceiling of political distrust and policy restriction. But unlike India, China has opened its

The main focus of the public universities in India is to provide access to higher education with low fee and the adequate reservation for minorities. These institutions are insulated from market pressure. A negative fall-out of this insulation is that there is little incentive or autonomy to invest and reform themselves

higher education sector to foreigners. While domestic private universities have seen limited growth, joint ventures of foreign and Chinese partnership have done well. Some examples of this are the NYU Shanghai, Duke-Kunshan University, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, School of Transnational Law, Peking University etc.

Difference in Perspective towards Quality Control and Ranking The fast expansion of Chinese universities raised concerns regarding quality in the late 1990s. How to distribute the limited government resources also needed justification. This made the Chinese

government play a very active role in quality control and the promotion of excellence in higher education. For this purpose, the Chinese government experimented with various merit-based mechanisms. The first was the 211 Project, which was initiated in the early 1990s. ‘211’ meant that China wanted to help 100 universities with the highest potentials to meet the demands of 21st century with more policy and funding support. By 2011, the Ministry of Education said that no more universities would be listed on the 211 Project, since 112 universities were already on the list. In May 1998, President Jiang Zemin proposed another project which focused on helping top Chinese universities become world-class universities. This project is also known as the 985 Project. A total of 39 Chinese universities are on this list, and get heavy funding from the government. In November 2015, the Chinese central government released a policy named the ‘Comprehensive Plan for Building World-Class Universities and World-Class Disciplines’. By then, the 211 Project was almost stopped. The 985 Project was integrated into the comprehensive plan. China also realized the limits of the 211 Project and the 985 Project. Hence, from 2017, China started a new dynamic

grading system, which is called “Double First Class Ranking”. There are three key differences in this system, which set it apart from the 211 and 985 projects. First, the grading is annual. Life-time recognition isn’t granted. Second, the project differentiates between the ranking of the university and the ranking of disciplines. This gives non-prestigious universities hope to develop some prestigious disciplines. Third, the grading system connects domestic ranking with global standards. For example, global ranking is one of the indicators for the Double First Class Ranking. This has created a new culture for Chinese universities to pay attention to the global rankings. In addition to the ranking of universities in China, there are also different “ranking” mechanisms for faculty. This ranking may be national, provincial or local. The popular ranking mechanisms are known as Changjiang Scholar, One Thousand Outstanding Scholars, Outstanding Young Scholars etc. The scholars within the programs have better access to academic resources, market resources and even extra monetary incentives. The percentage of outstanding faculty is also an indicator for the discipline and the over-all university ranking. This creates more market value for the faculty engaged in the programs. Beyond the competition among

September-October 2018 ▪



Competitive ranking or accreditation – for faculty, discipline, university or city – has created a dynamic discourse of higher education development in China. This has also made the Chinese academic field very competitive and market-oriented

faculty, disciplines and universities, now cities have also joined the competition for attracting outstanding faculty, schools and universities. China is shifting her value chain from manufacturing to innovation. Cities that used to compete for FDI in manufacturing now compete for outstanding universities in order to promote knowledge economy. Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Ningbo and Kunshan etc. have started the city-level competition for attracting outstanding universities or schools to have a joint campus or sub-campus in their city. They compete with factors such as provision of free land, large amount of money in infrastructure building, degree of


academic freedom etc. The competitive ranking or accreditation – for faculty, discipline, university or city – has created a dynamic discourse of higher education development in China. This has also made the Chinese academic field very competitive and market-oriented. Many concerns have been raised. Some believe that the focus is excessive on ‘quantifying education’, but the essence of education is getting substantially neglected. There are also fears that competitiveness causes intellectual corruption and plagiarism. In India, higher education governance structure is much more complicated than that in China. Unlike the Chinese govern-

▪ September-October 2018

ment, the Indian government hesitates to intervene in the general development of higher education. UGC, an autonomous body, has more say in the quality standard of universities. There is also the accreditation system developed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) of UGC. I believe that the NAAC accreditation is a good system for focusing on certain standards, but it avoids making the universities too competitive. However, the probing of the following two questions could help in examining the role of NAAC. One, how does the NAAC accreditation help in creating incentives for Indian universities to pursue excellence in higher education. Second, what is the extent to which NAAC accreditation can help, guide and push Indian universities toward achieving global standards. Realizing the need for creating further incentive among universities, India has tried some new efforts. This year, the Ministry of Human Resources Development granted autonomy to 60 highest grade universities and colleges. Another initiative named the Institute of Eminence program has also been started in 2018. In addition to these government efforts, some universities and institutes have tried to invite international ranking to come to India, such as the QS-India ranking. I may sum up by saying that China has benefited from the strong government policy and funding support for world-class universities. Tsinghua University recently ranked as the top university in Asia. People also expect that there will be some reduction in the quantitative assessment among universities, and more attention will be given to qualitative growth. For India, if there is a visible criteria for evaluation with global reference, Indian universities can improve their rankings significantly. In the long run, especially in the field of social sciences, I believe some Indian private universities will be much more competitive than Chinese universities in terms of critical thinking and theoretical contribution. 


Xinjiang at the Core of the Belt and Road Initiative


â–ª September-October 2018

 Bhavna Singh


n 2013, Xi Jinping declared his intention to rebuild the legendary Silk Road to serve as an “economic belt” in Eurasia connecting “3 million people from the Pacific to the Baltic Sea”. He made the announcement during his visit to Kazakhstan. The Chinese government further specified the role of its regional provinces in the success of the One Belt One Road (OBOR/ BRI) Initiative in its document titled ‘Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road’. The document was released in March 2015 by the National Development Reform Commission. It states, “We should make good use of Xinjiang’s geographic advantages and its role as a window of westward opening-up to deepen communication and cooperation with Central, South and West Asian countries, make it a key transportation, trade, logistics, culture, science and education centre, and a core area on the Silk Road Economic Belt.” Thus, Xinjiang’s geographical position at the centre of trans-Asian trade and traffic and its rich economic resources has posited it at the nub of an impending economic revolution. With an area of 1.66 million km sq, Xinjiang has served as a bridge between China and Central Asia historically. It enjoys established trade relations with more than 70 countries and regions. Its pillar industries of oil, petrochemicals, textiles, grains production, chemicals, machinery, electricity and forest industries enjoy a good reputation internationally. It is the only state in China with a GDP above its national average. Therefore, Xinjiang attracts massive foreign investments. Consequently, in China’s rebalancing strategy, Xinjiang lies at the heart of China’s discourse on common destiny, community of shared interests and responsibility featuring political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness. Of the five routes (both over land and maritime), Xinjiang is positioned at

Bhavna Singh is Associate Fellow at Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi

We should make good use of Xinjiang’s geographic advantages and its role as a window of westward opening-up to deepen communication and cooperation with Central, South and West Asian countries, make it a key transportation, trade, logistics, culture, science and education centre, and a core area on the Silk Road Economic Belt – National Development Reform Commission

the core of two land routes: the Silk Road economic belt linking China to Europe through Central Asia and Russia, and the route connecting China with the Middle East through Central Asia. Given this geographical pivot, it is important to see how Xinjiang will play a significant role in the BRI Initiative.

Economic incentives as an antidote for stability

Xinjiang provides a great opportunity for the central government to employ economic means for bringing about integration of this region into the mainland. Over the last two decades, the Chinese government has doled out several schemes aimed at enhancing the living standards of the people in this region and integrating it with the national economy. Many scholars emphasize that as far as Xinjiang is concerned, China operates on the principle of ‘double-openness’. It uses Xinjiang’s geographical position to simultaneously integrate it with mainland China, and to establish security and economic cooperation with its Central

September-October 2018 ▪



Asian neighbours. The central government recognizes that unemployment and poverty amongst locals has been a major reason for discontent. Therefore, investment in infrastructure is being aimed at stimulating the domestic economy via exports from industries with major overcapacity such as steel, cement and aluminium. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang is sought to become the core province in northwest China for such build-operate and transfer schemes along with Inner Mongolia in the Northeast, Guangxi in Southwest and Fujian on the coast. By and large, the OBOR/BRI takes off from the already existing paraphernalia established under the accelerated economic development of the 1990s. This initiative had opened northwest China for economic development, and the more recent Western Development Campaign (2000). The national leadership had mainly given priority to the eastern coastal regions at the time of China’s ‘opening up’, or the economic reforms in 1978. It had adopted an approach of ‘letting some regions get richer first’ while others had to wait for their turn. This discrepancy is being sought to be corrected under the BRI initiative. Over the last decade, US$ 108 billion worth of investments have been made in this region. Besides oil and gas exploration projects, water conservancy projects have also been launched to recover 50 billion cubic-meters of water in the Tarim basin. A ‘Green Great Wall’ from Xinjiang to Heilongjiang has been built to stop desertification and recurrence of dust storms. These are part of the ‘Usher in a new era of Ecological Progress’ initiatives, advanced by Xi Jinping (May 2013). Under the tenth Five-year plan, 70 projects in the areas of infrastructure, environment and key industries have been initiated. The government principally aims to convert the region into a large-scale national oil and gas production center, processing and reserve base, a large-scale coal, coal power and coal chemical base,


Three trans-Xinjiang transportation routes a large wind power base and a national energy resource corridor. Zhang Chunlin, Director of the Xinjiang Development and Reform Commission, announced that the government plans to build four more railway ports in addition to the existing two ports to connect the region with the Eurasian continent by 2020. It intends to add another 4-6 airports and renovate and expand the existing ones (currently 16 airports) in the next 3 years. The government intends to create bonded zones along the anticipated China-Central Asia free trade area. Of these, three exist, while five more are to be added. The government’s effort has also been open to FDI in the manufacturing sector in Xinjiang. Meng Yongsheng, Deputy Dean of Economics at the University of Finance and Economics in Xinjiang, highlights that “by setting up branches and factories nearer to consumer markets, foreign enterprises save on transportation and labour costs, and master consumer psychology.” Similar argument

▪ September-October 2018

was also put forward by He Yiming, head of Xinjiang’s Commerce Bureau. He had said that “influx of foreign capital proves Xinjiang has been successful in building a competitive industrial base, improved government services, and established a much more convenient transportation network.” One of the important mechanisms for economic growth has been the expos organized at bilateral and regional level. The China Eurasia expo (CEE), previously known as the China Urumqi Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Fair, has been credited with improving the economic situation of Xinjiang by attracting investments. Key areas that these expos cater to are technical innovation and the fruit industry. China’s home-grown Beidou navigation system has been harnessed to increase economic exchanges. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a semi-military administrative body, has become active in securing

The BRI: Six economic corridors spanning Asia, Europe and Africa domestic projects. Some investment companies are building entire cities. For instance, Pan Li, head of Xinjiang Tianhonglihao Investment Company Ltd., invested 10 billion Yuan in a building project in Wujiaqu City in 2013. The two special economic zones of Kashgar and Korgas set up in 2011 also provide an example of implementation of favourable policies ranging from tax exemptions, subsidized electricity and transportation, and lowinterest loans for infrastructure.         Some scholars raise concerns that these economic linkages may advance the very goals that they have been established to counter. These goals, they say, are the creation of scope for transmission of the elements of terrorism and separatism that are antithetical to this project. The province is limited by several geographical factors. For instance, only 4.3% of its land is fit for inhabitation. Most of the terrain is mountainous, which leads to difficulties in connectivity, especially the rugged ranges of the Karakoram, Kunlun

and Tian Shan. Most of the industrial structure is state-owned. There is low prevalence of market mechanisms in key areas of production. Over and above this, despite increase in production capacity, the local demand for goods and consumption has not increased.

A ‘Core’ between China and Central Asia

Amongst the five Central Asian countries, three share a direct border with China along its Xinjiang province. These are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Economically, China and Central Asia can engage constructively based on the principles of ‘comparative advantage’, which offers innumerable possibilities for trade. Hu Jintao, China’s paramount leader from 2002 to 2012, had made a speech at the Uzbek Parliament about the progress made by the Central Asian countries in economic terms as early as 2004. He had hoped that the region would continue to exhibit stability and sustained develop-

ment. The leader also acknowledged how China and Central Asia had been closely associated in trade along the Silk route since ancient times. Chinese companies have previously funded and built infrastructure in the Central Asian region, making it the dominant economic power in the region. Economic and trade ties continued to mature in the last decade. In 2013, the trade between China and its Central Asian partners stood at $ 50 billion. In 2015, China became Uzbekistan’s largest trading partner with $3 billion worth of trade. China also became Kazakhstan’s largest investor with 33 deals worth $23.6 billion in favour of the nation. China has focused heavily on Turkmenistan’s energy sector, by purchasing around 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year since 2009, in return of substantial military aid. There exists a great potential for trade between these two regions, but also some inherent asymmetries because of China’s superior economic strength and influence. This makes the Central Asian countries slightly cautious. Nonetheless, mutual advantages can be worked out. The energy resources of the Central Asian countries can be tapped for China’s domestic demand. China can offer technological knowhow and infrastructure upgrades, along with being a source of foreign direct investments to these smaller neighbours. Li Keqiang’s visit to the central Asian countries highlights China’s objective of helping these countries in increasing their production capacity. For instance, in 2015 the Xinjiang-based wind turbine company Goldwind won contracts to build plants throughout Central Asia. Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Company, one of China’s major power transformer companies located in Xinjiang, announced in 2015 plans to build a power transformation line in Kyrgyzstan and a power station in Tajikistan as growing symbol of friendship between the two nations. Also, special economic zones (SEZs) and industrial parks can play a significant role in the Silk Road Economic Belt or the

September-October 2018 ▪



One belt, one road – China's new Silk Road broader Belt and Road Initiative. The two sides are already attempting to use the existing infrastructure and institutions. For example, the Khorgos Eastern Gate Special Economic Zone on the border of Kazakhstan and China established in 2011 is being promoted under the new initiative. Railway corridors under the ambit of China-Central Asia-West Asia economic corridor have also been established to assist trade in the region. In addition, China has concluded separate cooperation agreements with each of the Central Asian countries. These are aimed at further deepening and expanding mutually beneficial co-operation in areas such as trade, investment, finance, transport and communication. The national development strategies of the five Central Asian countries – including Kazakhstan’s “Road to Brightness”, Tajikistan’s “Energy, Transport and Food”, and Turkmenistan’s “Strong and Happy Era” – have all been brought into congruence with the establishment of the Silk Road Economic Belt.


Some of the infrastructure projects worth mentioning are the KhorgosAktau railway, a project with $2.7bn investment to modernize its locomotives and freight and passenger cars, and repair 450 miles of rail. The Central Asia-China gas pipeline has been built with a cost of $7.3bn, over 666 km. The Central AsiaChina gas pipeline forms the backbone of infrastructure connections between Turkmenistan and China. It runs from the Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan border to Jingbian in China. In yet another instance, China signed agreements with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to build a fourth line of the central Asia-China gas pipeline in September 2013 called the Central Asia-China gas pipeline, line D. The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway is another project that falls under the Silk Road initiative. However, the facilities on the Chinese side have been developed much faster. These are raising concerns amongst the Central Asian countries on the benefit

▪ September-October 2018

that might accrue to them in the near and long-term. There are antagonistic perceptions among the Central Asian countries that these connectivity corridors will provide China access to resources and goods passing through Asia without much benefit to them. In fact, there are suspicions that overall these projects might prove handy to the political and economic elite of the two sides, who will be involved in negotiating the deal. Protests have been seen in several local towns in Kazakhstan over a new land code and fear of government selling land to China. Besides such apprehensions, the nature of tradable commodities also remains to be determined. The Central Asian countries have a sizeable Muslim population which harbour ethnic ties with the region of Xinjiang. Therefore, ethnic separatism, religious extremism and trans-national crime and terrorism are major concerns for both sides. Given the size of Muslim populations in both sides, the preservation and access of halal food, a symbolic prerequisite of Muslim diet, is a big con-

Zhang Chunlin, Director of the Xinjiang Development and Reform Commission, announced that the government plans to build four more railway ports in addition to the existing two ports to connect the region with the Eurasian continent by 2020. It intends to add another 4-6 airports and renovate and expand the existing ones (currently 16 airports) in the next 3 years

cern. The Chinese government has identified the export of halal food to the Central Asian region as well as other parts of the world as one of the areas which could benefit from the revival of the old Silk routes, especially under leadership from the Chinese Muslim businessmen. Currently, China’s halal exports account to $ 100 million per year. This is scanty in comparison to the world’s total of over $ 500 billion. Textile exports form a major part of the trade with Central Asian countries. This has seen an increase over the last three years, according to the Global Trade Review. The Chinese government plans to convert Xinjiang into a hot bed of textile and apparel manufacturing by 2030, with a clear focus on sustainable development and intelligent manufacturing. The Korla economic and technological development zone was named as a new textile industry demonstration base in 2013. The zone will be entitled to 50,000 ton polyurethane fibre (spandex) project, with an investment of 3 billion Yuan. However, this has not led to any significant overall shift in Xinjiang’s

visibility in the BRI, and in the proportion of its overall contribution in trade with China. Another area where cooperation has been envisioned is the agricultural sector. Chinese companies have invested heavily in Kazakh agriculture including a project which would see the relocation of tomato processing plants from China to the Kazakh steppe. Interestingly, Muslim citizens of Xinjiang have played a significant role as traders and merchants. It was the Muslim merchants who were traditionally involved in transmitting the finished goods from the interior of China to the Central Asian countries and the Arabic Kingdom. This movement led to inter-transmission of culture, like exchange of vocabulary in different languages. They also played a significant role in transmission of goods and culture within China. The Muslim traders travelled to the vast geographies of Tibet down south, and Inner Mongolia up north. Since both Xinjiang and the Central Asian countries have sizable portions of Muslim population, it will be remarkable to see the cultural transformation along the borders.

September-October 2018 ▪


CHINA VALUE OF XINJIANG Connecting the Eurasian Land Bridge Central Asia may emerge as the largest single beneficiary of the BRI initiative in terms of getting investments from China. But the European markets present a bigger lure for Chinese finished goods. The geopolitical significance of the project for the European Union is emphasized in the fact that stronger investment and trade relations are increasing China’s stakes in regional affairs, as well as the need for these countries to maintain friendly relations with Beijing. At the same time, the unintended consequences of the project will come to play in the intra-regional balance of the European powers, as it helps the Eastern European economies to move away from their peripheral role within the EU. The OBOR project will help in bringing stability to the Eurasian neighbourhood, contributing to stability and growth in the region. The proposed China-Europe TransContinental Railway, with an investment of $150 billion covering 3700 miles, is slated to be finished by 2020, and be completely operational by 2030. However, the implementation of this project itself indicates the difficulties faced by transcontinental railways in terms of technical cooperation and understanding on ground work. These difficulties include operational challenges like the length of the meter gauge at the points of intersections of the borders between Central Asian countries and the European countries, the designs and technology in the manufacturing of the trains etc. Most of this New Eurasia land bridge is an international railway line. It runs from Lianyungang in China’s Jiangsu province through Alashankou in Xinjiang to Rotterdam in Holland, and also passes through Xinjiang. The portion of the railway line in China comprised of the Lanzhou-Lianyungang Railway and the LanzhouXinjiang Railway. It stretches through eastern, central and western China. The international leg of the railway line passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland. The railway line further reaches a number of coastal ports in


The unintended consequences of the project will come to play in the intra-regional balance of the European powers, as it helps the Eastern European economies to move away from their peripheral role within the EU. The OBOR project will help in bringing stability to the Eurasian neighbourhood, contributing to stability and growth in the region Europe. China has opened several railway freight routes along this bridge connecting to Russia and Europe. Most notable is the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway, a project being undertaken by a China-led consortium with an investment of $375 million. This is a 770 km high speed railway between Moscow and Kazan. It will cut travel time between the two cities from 12 hours to 3.5 hrs. These initiatives are buttressed with a larger EU-Central Asia strategy. This strategy focuses, among other things, on the accession of the Central Asian countries to the WTO. The strategy also

▪ September-October 2018

includes efforts at including the Central Asian countries into other regional arrangements of the EU, to provide access to financial resources and inclusion in trade practices. According to an estimate by The New York Times, the Chinese and Kazakh governments expect the volume of overland trade through the region to Europe to grow from 2,500 forty-foot equivalent units to 7.5 million by the end of the decade. The overland trade between China and Europe can reach $4.5 billion in the same period. This is only a small fraction of overall China-Europe trade,

It can be argued that the BRI initiative symbolizes China’s growing significance in international affairs, especially in reshaping the regional dynamics in neighbouring countries like Central Asia and Europe. The initiative seems to have resulted from the realization that the coastal western provinces of China, which had been the driver of its growth, have reached optimum level but will have tangible benefits in the inland cities most directly affected. Though Central Asia might account for a limited 5-7 percent of Chinese-European trade in volume, it will still help to reduce China’s over-reliance on the sea lanes in the South and East China Seas.    China has tried to allay the concerns about its imperialist intentions through the BRI. China has stated that it is willing to share the ownership of the BRI under its several projects along the route. Hence, various countries can visualize themselves as being able to influence the outcome, and retain partnership in the

collaborations. At the same time, both the EU and Russia have demonstrated concerns about China’s role in Central Asia. Differences have cropped up between China and Russia, as Central Asia is traditionally considered a backyard for Russia. But the Chinese are reshaping it as a strategic corridor, linking it with Europe under its BRI initiative.       In an overall assessment, it can be argued that the BRI initiative symbolizes China’s growing significance in international affairs, especially in reshaping the regional dynamics in neighbouring countries like Central Asia and Europe.

In addition, the initiative seems to have resulted from the realization that the coastal western provinces of China, which had been the driver of its growth, have reached optimum level. Hence, a new driver for growth is required in the face of its ‘new normal’. Plus, geopolitical and domestic state-building imperatives are interwoven in Beijing’s Eurasian pivot. Prominent Chinese scholar Wang Jisi argues that China’s “march westward” (i.e., BRI) is a “strategic necessity,” because the “eastward shift” in the strategic focus of the Trump administration threatens to lock Sino-US relations into a “zero-sum game” in East Asia. Rapid development as envisaged under the BRI will have to take into account issues such as mitigating critical environment crisis and cushioning the impact of rapid urbanization. It would also require that the government takes into consideration the sensitivities of the local communities to accommodate their ethnic and religious sentiment. Also, the benefits of development should accrue to the local communities and not the immigrant communities. This has been a sore issue in recent times. The initiative is likely to have several cultural implications. The BRI will inevitably lead to intermingling of religious practices and cultures along the trade route, which means spread of Chinese values to the western regions of China and Central Asian values to the eastern regions. Besides the technological and trade aspects of the BRI, there will be creation of equitable and improved education systems along the regions of its implementation. What is of prime concern is that the role of Xinjiang in this initiative should not remain restricted to that of a transit point, but emerge as an economic core. There should be an engenderment of winwin for both the government and the local ethnicities. This can be made possible by fostering a spirit of mutual appreciation and understanding, under the “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit spirit.” Only then will the region be able to achieve its maximum potential. 

September-October 2018 ▪



Chinese and Indians must try to know each other more  Xia Baohui


worked for Air China in India from June 2012 to August 2018. During my India stint of six years, I worked in Bangalore, Mumbai and then in Delhi. In September 2018, I left India because I was transferred to work in the US for Air China. Bangalore was my first place of work in India. There, I was dismayed to observe the frequent power breakdowns. After Bangalore, I moved to Mumbai, and then to Delhi. It was during the second half of my stay in India that I got reassured in terms of the power supply.


Thankfully, power supply in India is good now. Mobile and internet service has also improved. In the initial years after I came to India in 2012, I found Chinese business presence to be low in Bangalore. In Mumbai, I found the Chinese investment to be higher as compared to Bangalore. During my stay in Delhi, I observed a distinct change. I found that more Chinese businesses had invested in India, and a much larger number of Chinese corporates were interested in investing here. Between India and China, the people to people exchange is approximately one million in one year. In 2017, approximately 2 lakh Chinese came to India.

▪ September-October 2018

This number includes the Chinese working in India – people like me, who would have made three to four trips in one year. In 2017, from India to China, the flyers numbered 8 lakh approximately. Hence, the people to people exchange between India and China was almost one million in one year. Each year, the China-Thailand people to people exchange is about 10 million. When seen in terms of the large population and the giant economies of China and also of India, we find that the people-to-people exchange between our two countries is very low. The Indian economy is growing fast. India offers high potential to investors

all over the world, including China. I expect Chinese investment in India to significantly increase now. Only 2 lakh Chinese coming to India in one year is a very small number. I expect that there will be a major increase in the number of people coming from China to India, and going from India to China. The Indian market offers high value to the Chinese. A large percentage of the Chinese who have come to India in the last couple of years had business interests. I believe that the business interest of the Chinese in India will see a major growth in the coming years. The Doklam crisis was a low point between the two countries. But the Wuhan summit and the subsequent meetings between our President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have created confidence in the Chinese corporate sector. In two to three years, the economic engagement between India and China will be very strong. Of course, we will continue to have some areas of difficulty. Also, on some issues, the opinion may not be the same on both sides. But overall, the trend is very promising. People exchange, cultural exchange, business exchange – all of this will increase between India and China. Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi said that India and China are bound by history, connected by culture, and inspired by rich traditions. He described the potential of India-China ties as INCH (India & China) towards MILES (Millennium of Exceptional Synergy). He saw our relationship progressing from inches to miles. Our Foreign Minister Mr Wang Yi said that if China and India are united, one plus one will not equal two but 11. If China and India have one voice, the whole world will hear us and believe us. The Chinese find the power services, the mobile network and the internet coverage in India to be strong. The Chinese tourists can get the e-Visa for India. Chinese investment is growing in the areas of information technology, construction, mobile phones, automobile industry and solar power systems.

Xia Baohui is the former head of the Indian operations of Air China. He is now Deputy General Manager at the New York office of Air China.

The Indian economy is growing fast. India offers high potential to investors all over the world, including China. I expect Chinese investment in India to significantly increase now. Only 2 lakh Chinese coming to India in one year is a very small number. I expect that there will be a major increase in the number of people coming from China to India, and going from India to China The efficiency of government systems has improved in India. But there are still many challenges. When I applied for an airport entry pass in Mumbai, I got it in ten months. This was even though I was heading the Air China operations in Mumbai. In Delhi, the procedure took six months, even though I was heading the Air China operations here. Verification by the police and the intelligence agencies is an accepted norm. The difficulty is

that we do not know with which agency we should follow up regarding the work. For India to progress faster, the functioning of government agencies must be more efficient. Many corporations, Indian and also Chinese, face this problem because the government systems do not respond as alertly and promptly as they should. This makes the interface with the government very complex. Suppose I submit a file to an Indian

September-October 2018 â–Ş



Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi said that India and China are bound by history, connected by culture, and inspired by rich traditions. He described the potential of India-China ties as INCH (India & China) towards MILES. He saw our relationship progressing from inches to miles government agency, after making enquiries about all the documents required, and provide all the documents. Even after that, I will be told by the handling official – this document is not there. Another time, I will encounter another official. He will say – another document which was required is not there. Months go by in this process. There is too much of bureaucratic red tape in India. Hence interaction with the government becomes very complicated. There is obstruction over documents. Understanding of processes and procedures is not uniform. When we are in India, in everything we follow the Indian laws. But we face confusion. Some states are dry states.


Some states allow beef consumption. Some states have conditions on beef consumption. In June this year, a Chinese was arrested in Patna for the possession of some liquor. It made big news in China. Such things make people feel that living in India is very difficult. I always tell my staff, follow the Indian law fully. Then you will not face any difficulty. I am aware that in my country, many Chinese do not know India well. A large number of them hardly know India. They may have heard of Delhi or Mumbai. From my personal experience, I have found that when the Chinese come here, they find India to be far better than they had imagined.

▪ September-October 2018

The poor knowledge of the Chinese regarding India is because the China-India people to people exchange is very low. Same is the case with Indians. Most Indians do not know China. I have discovered that when Indians go to China, they come back with very positive feelings. The Chinese media may focus only on the bad things in India which make news. And the Indian media may focus only on the bad things in China which make news. Hence the media gives people negative information. We must find out more about each other by meeting each other more. The increase in interactions between the Chinese and the Indians must not be restricted to government circles only. I have Chinese friends who have lived in India for many years. They can be very good ambassadors for the China-India people to people exchange. They can be the bridge between the Chinese and the Indians. I always tell the Chinese, don’t believe what you see on the Internet. I always try to give my friends objective information about India. I tell them – come to India and experience this country. I agree that when the Chinese come to India, some

of the experiences may not be good. But they will have other experiences in India, which will be very good. Due to the low people exchange, there are many misconceptions on both sides. Chinese say they don’t understand Indians. Indians say they don’t understand the Chinese. Now Indian movies are very popular in China. This is a good thing. Film exchange will help China to know the good aspects of India. The movie Dying to Survive was about Indian medicines, which are very cheap and effective. This movie gave India great goodwill in China. Films have soft power. They are a potent way for India to build its goodwill. India is a fast-growing economy. The political relations between China and India have also improved. I am confident that we have entered a very positive phase in the China-India relations. There is seems to be a sense of urgency on both sides, to cooperate and grow with the other. This will increase. In the long term, I see very good potential for China and India to work together. The Chinese civilization and the Indian civilization have many common points. When the first Indian prime minister

Our Foreign Minister Mr Wang Yi said that if China and India are united, one plus one will not equal two but 11. If China and India have one voice, the whole world will hear us and believe us Mr Jawaharlal Nehru wrote letters to his daughter from jail, he wrote about the old civilizations of China and India, and our ancient links. I tell the Chinese that try to understand India. Everything that they see in India may not be good. But we must try to focus on the good things. Often many Indians may feel, that why don’t the Chinese trust us. The Chinese may also feel, that why don’t the Indians trust us. It is not a question of trust or ‘not trust’. The question is that people of the two countries don’t know each other. All the Indians who stay in China for a long time should be brand ambassadors of their country in China. And all the Chinese who stay in India for a long time should be brand ambassadors of their country in India. The real need is for

India and China to know each other. The Chinese media and the India media must also play an important role in building mutual ties. They should carry news that enables people in both countries to understand each other more. The Indian economy is growing. We should have more tourists from China to India, and vice versa. We should try to understand each other’s culture. I have a very special place for India in my heart. My tenure in India is over, and I am now leaving this country and will work elsewhere. I love India so much that whenever I hear something special about India, I may have tears in my eyes. I want more and more Chinese to know India well. I also want that more and more Indians should know China and the Chinese well. 

September-October 2018 ▪



Leaning on China: The Ambitious Challenges of Asian Nations, Their Choices and Trade-Offs

China’s bottomless pocket comes in handy to finance infrastructure projects in Asian countries, also grease their political economy


 Rajni Shaleen Chopra


hina believes that it has always pursued a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship with its neighboring countries. According to reports appearing in Xinhua, its

▪ September-October 2018

official news agency, China believes that the basic tenet of its diplomacy with neighbours is to treat them as friends and partners, to make them feel safe, and to help them develop. In October 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that “friendship is a consistent principle of China’s diplomacy with its neighbors, and sincerity is the

Rajni Shaleen Chopra is Executive Editor of the India China Chronicle

‘China is seeking a policy what would allow it to prevent a “New China Threat” ideology from taking hold in neighboring states, and is searching for a way to reduce opposition to Chinese people and the infusion of Chinese capital into their countries’

way to develop more friends and partners”. Cooperation with neighbors should be based on mutual benefit and create a close network of common interests, said Xi. Beijing has prided itself that its neighborhood diplomacy is the development of a community of common destiny and common prosperity. An old

Chinese saying goes, “A far-off relative is not as helpful as a close neighbor.” China’s officially stated position is that its neighborhood diplomacy “featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness will not only benefit its neighboring countries, but will also contribute to peace and prosperity of the region and the rest of the world.” The perception in the Asian neighbourhood about China’s diplomacy differs from the projections made by this prime global power. In March 2017, Rumi Aoyama wrote in

the ‘Journal of Contemporary East Asia Studies’ on ‘Chinese Diplomacy toward Neighboring Countries’. She noted in her paper: “Non-traditional national security issues are surfacing as new areas of dispute. Surrounding countries serve as a vital market for China, and China also considers them to be important areas for investment. However, China is also seeking a policy what would allow it to prevent a “New China Threat” ideology from taking hold in neighboring states, and is searching for a way to reduce opposition to Chinese people and the

September-October 2018 ▪



Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Beijing

The Indian Express report stated that Chinese investments and economic activities in Myanmar evoke suspicion. These observations about the Myanmar-China relations are significant. They make for an interesting study of how China impacts, and is perceived by a weaker, poorer neighbour infusion of Chinese capital into their countries. Also, many of the major rivers in Asia originate in China, so it is no exaggeration to say that the creation of cooperative regional frameworks to avoid conflict over water resources is largely controlled by China’s actions.”


Fears in Myanmar

In September, The Indian Express carried a news-report by Nirupama Subramaniyan on multi-lateral trade, investment and infrastructure activities in Myanmar. The report stated that Myanmar is a country crowded with several international players, and completely dominated by China.

▪ September-October 2018

The report said that India has failed to impressively deliver on the big-ticket infrastructure projects in Myanmar. These include the Trilateral Highway, and the Kaladan Multinodal project. The pace of their execution, noted the Express report, pale in comparison to what China and Japan are engaged in. It added that China is fast developing a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the north-western state of Rakhine. China is also giving a major push to infrastructure in Myanmar, by building roads, railways and ports. In Myanmar, this infrastructure push is called ‘China’s Y project’. China and Myanmar have finalized a 15-point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Y project, which will give Beijing access to the Bay of Bengal through Myanmar. On the proposed China-Myanmar Economic Y Corridor, China has planned a host of other projects as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, in which Myanmar is a participant. Myanmar-China trade is worth over $8 billion. India lags far behind. The India-Myanmar trade is worth about $1.6 billion annually. According to the IE report, China has remained the biggest investor in Myanmar. As of July 2018, its investments were worth over $20 billion, while India was the 11th biggest investor with $763 million. China accounts for over a quarter of foreign investments in Myanmar, and Singapore, the second biggest investor with $19 bn, another quarter. Hong Kong is the fourth biggest investor after Thailand, and has invested about $7.8 bn. The Maynmarese people admit that the China-Myanmar trade is “very big and very profitable” for both sides. But the Express report threw up an observation that has echoed in the dealings of other nations with China. Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Maung Maung, who owns a hospital and is also the Secretary General of the Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said “Myanmar people do not trust China”. The mistrust is felt in the people-topeople level trade and interactions. Said Dr Maung Maung, “We buy Chinese

China's Belt and Road Initiative has driven investment in various ports in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Malaysia

medicines but we, professionals, and even the people, they know that these are not good medicines. We buy agricultural machinery from China because it’s cheap, but it’s low quality. Indian is better quality but slightly more expensive; Japanese are the best, and they are the most expensive, we cannot afford them.” The Indian Express report stated that Chinese investments and economic activities in Myanmar evoke suspicion. These observations about the Myanmar-China relations are significant. They make for an interesting study of how China impacts, and is perceived by a weaker, poorer neighbour. The Express report said: “In recent months, China has emerged as an isolated Myanmar’s foremost ally on the Rohingya issue but the distrust remains, and is everywhere, from the chamber of commerce to journalists, politicians and the man on the street. By comparison, India evokes friendlier sentiments because of State Counsellor

Suu Kyi’s old connections to it even though New Delhi built ties with the Myanmar military from the late 1990s… A Yangon cabbie says “China knows take, it does not give”. Chinese businessmen have a negative image in Myanmar as “people who are making money out of Myanmar people”. All that came to the fore over the last few months when Myanmar’s wariness about falling into a debt trap with China of the kind Sri Lanka found itself in over Hambantota led it to scale down the Kyaukpyu project. According to reports, the deep sea port, initially a $7.9 billion project for 10 berths, has now been scaled back by Myanmar to a $1.3 bn for two berths. In 2012, when Myanmar’s military junta was gradually giving up some of its powers, one of its big moves for legitimacy was to suspend the Chinese-funded Myitsone dam project under pressure of public opinion.” Clearly, China hardsells big ticket but is low on trust, said the Express report.

Survey on China’s trustworthiness among neighbours

In May 2017,, Singapore’s English-language digital news provider, carried a news-report on a survey conducted on China’s trustworthiness among neighbours.  The survey was carried out by the Asean Studies Centre (ASC) at the Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute. The TODAY news-report stated that according to the survey, China is now seen as the most influential player in South-east Asia, but there is little trust that Beijing will be a good leader in maintaining regional peace and stability. The survey was an assessment of how China impacts, and is perceived by its neighbours. According to the todayonline. com report, more than 73 per cent of respondents in the survey said that China is the most influential country in the region, while the 10-member Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean)

September-October 2018 ▪



bloc came in at a distant second with 18.2 per cent. The United States trailed at 3.5 per cent. According to the news report, the findings also showed more than 70 per cent of respondents had little confidence or no confidence that Beijing would “do the right thing” in contributing to global peace, security, prosperity and governance. A study of the  report on the survey revealed the anxiety among Asian neighbours about China’s rise, and its trustworthiness. Here is part of the report. The survey involved a sample of 318 regional affairs experts from South-east Asia, including academics, policymakers, business people, civil society leaders and the media. The comments of the head of Asean Studies Centre (ASC), which conducted the survey, are highly telling about the feelings generated by China in its neighbourhood. The TODAY news-report


‘China must take into consideration its neighbours’ interest and insecurities. It should exercise strategic restraint, continue to engage in regional dialogue and cooperation, and give assurances to its neighbours, not by words but by actions’ stated that Dr Tang Siew Mun, head of Asean Studies Centre, said that China’s assertiveness – whether perceived or real – has had a negative impact on its image in South-east Asia. “China can control the narrative and constrain official expressions of dissatisfaction, by muzzling Asean for example, but it cannot hope to control the thoughts and behaviour of the Asean people,” said

▪ September-October 2018

Dr Tang in the TODAY report. Dr Tang further noted that Beijing’s image has also suffered through its heavy handedness in handling disagreements with South-east Asia. “Its widespread use of economic levers such as unofficial import curbs and tourist boycotts are expressions of brute power that makes its offer of friendship suspicious and disingenuous,” he said in the news-report.

Asean Studies Centre’s lead researcher for political and security affairs Hoang Thi Ha expressed similar views in the news report. She said, “China during recent years has thrown its weight around in a more bullish and revanchist way (and this) has inflicted deep and mistrust among South-east Asian countries”. The news report stated that according to the survey, the majority of the respondents believed that China’s primacy in the region would continue. Almost 75 per cent of them said China would be the most influential party in South-east Asia in the next ten years. Dr Tang of Asean Studies Centre said that the more China attempted to impose its will on the region, the higher would be the possibility of potential backlashes. He said China would have to decide if it wants to be “loved or feared”. He also suggested that China must take into consideration its neighbours’ interest and insecurities.

According to the news-report, Ms Hoang suggested that China should exercise strategic restraint, continue to engage in regional dialogue and cooperation, and give assurances to its neighbours, not by words but by actions. “Hard power can defeat others quickly, but only soft power can win them over in the long run,” she stated.

Why Asian nations lean on China

China may be perceived as a bully, but there are several factors why the Asian nations are leaning towards China. In March this year, a report by Kunal Singh in Livemint observed that China’s economic rise and military strength is gradually eroding India’s geographical advantage. The Livemint report said that India’s relative size by itself, regardless of policies, made it a threatening actor in the subcontinent. Kunal Singh wrote:

“Sometimes, policies add to the problem. It is no surprise that small neighbours would want an extra-regional balancer to temper Indian influence and even to secure better terms from the bureaucrats in New Delhi. China is the most obvious option to balance India. Besides geopolitical balancing, there is genuine need for capital for infrastructure projects in these countries. If India cannot service those needs, then China’s bottomless pocket comes in handy. There is also the angle of Chinese money greasing the political economy of these countries. It is no coincidence that Hambantota—the political base of Rajapaksa—was chosen for big Chinese infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. Bertil Lintner in his ‘China’s India War: Collision Course On The Roof Of The World’ documents a number of NGOs run by leaders, and their relatives, of leftist political parties in Nepal receiving assistance from China.” 

September-October 2018 ▪



Cultural, spiritual ties between India and China The Head of The Buddhist Association of China who oversees 300 million followers, Venerable Master Yanjue, welcomed Swami Brahmaviharidas of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha on September 22 at the reknowned Guangji Temple in Beijing in the presence of 10 senior monks, Embassy officials, dignitaries and government officers. They discussed the long history and the present relevance of the source and sustenance of cultural and spiritual relationships between India and China – two of the world’s largest and oldest nations. After dwelling upon Lord Buddha’s birth in India and Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s meditation at Mansarovar, gifts and prayers for universal peace were exchanged.


▪ September-October 2018

September-October 2018 â–ª



India’s negative branding in China courtesy a train video


▪ September-October 2018

 Ma Yu


new term has been popping up on the Chinese social media in the recent times. People use it a lot when they talk about India. The term is ‘Incredible Indian’. In Chinese, the same words also mean “hanging”. Why are Chinese referring to Indians in this way? What do they find incredible about India? This impression comes from a video which shows Indians hanging out of railway coaches while travelling by train. The video went viral in China, and gave our social media these new words. Incredible Indian. This new term replaced the earlier way in which we had been referring to Indians. ‘Indian guy’. Now, when people use this new term for Indians, they often use another word too: ‘Amazing’. People in China cannot believe that a person can get on a train while it’s still moving. They have never seen things like this before. In our country, while a train is moving, people are not allowed to even get near it. The Chinese had assumed that things would be the same in all other countries. After the video went viral, the term ‘Incredible Indian’ soon become a popular term while referring to all those from India, or anything about India. Some people even planned travel to India so that they could explore more such wonderful things about our ancient neighbour. The Chinese social media seems to be waiting for more such videos to pop up. The Chinese are certain that India is a “wonderland” where people can get on trains barehanded, and do other seemingly impossible things.    

Little information, big branding

Objectively, one has to concede that getting on a train barehanded does not qualify as the definition of “wonderland” in any way. The phenomenon that we are observing is something else. The phe-

Ma Yu has done Masters in Globalization and Communication from the University of Leicester, UK. She is a freelance writer.

The Americans judged the Chinese because we tend to have small eyes. And now, we Chinese are judging India on the basis of a video in which some Indians are seen hanging out of railway carriages during travel nomenon is that people on social media tend to judge an entire nation by a single piece of information, or a single video. And then they brand it as they please. The Americans judged the Chinese because we tend to have small eyes. The Chinese judged Russians because of a video of a guy capturing a bear barehanded. And now, we Chinese are judging India on the basis of a video in which some Indians are seen hanging out of railway carriages during travel. When the media goes wrong, it influences all of us. Media information, especially social

media information, is emerging as a key factor that shapes our opinions about the world. Whatever appears on social media is seen as some kind of evidence when we judge other people or another country. According to Baidu index data, a product similar to Google Trends data, when Chinese search information about India, the top three searches relate to Kamasutra, Indian movies and negative social news. The video in which Indians board a train bare-handed, and are seen hanging out of a railway coach, popped up in January this year. Soon, the video was

September-October 2018 ▪


SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE trending as ‘news’ about India. Indian movies which have trended lately are Dangal, Hindi Medium,  Secret Superstar, and a Chinese movie which tells an India-related story, Dying to Survive. Kamasutra, as a popular topic, is searched more than movies or the train video. India has a population of 1.34 billion and a history of over 5000 years. Yet, one of the oldest civilizations in the world is being represented by just a few movies, some news and a book on sex. This may seem to be a harmless indulgence. But things are not as simple. What is coming forth is that with pieces of information, people tend to join the dots and form theories and opinions about what they see. Wayne Wanta, a scholar in mass communication, recently made observations about public opinion in a research article. Wanta noted that the more negative coverage a nation received, the more people were likely to think negatively about the nation. Some Chinese continue to describe the UK as ‘gay country’, even after knowing that UK is not full of people with alternate sexual orientation. After the Delhi gang rape case in 2012, people on social media in China started talking about India’s ‘rape culture’. Year after year, other incidents of horrific rapes were reported from India. Last year, India was listed as the most dangerous country for women in a Reuters report. This further strengthened the assumption that people had made about the ‘rape culture’ of India.  

The negative media bias

India has a dynamic workforce of women in all sectors of the economy. At the level of government policy and work at ground level, India is giving a major push to the girl child, and girls’ education. Countries with a highly poor record of women rights are not put in the forefront by the media. The same media circulates stories about India’s ‘rape culture’. Such negative information forms a very different perspective for foreigners about what India is really like. Based on Wayne Wanta’s theory, after


Guangzhou, China

so many rape cases happened in India, it is natural for people to think that India is not safe for women. For instance, if someone does not speak English and has never gone out of China or interacted with any Indians, he/she can draw the highly erroneous conclusion that Indians are extremely poor, dirty and are always assaulting woman. The Chinese who watched the movie Toilet – Ek Prem Katha may form the impression that India is so poor that Indian woman don’t have toilets to use. This is what social media does. It tends to portray a negative picture which gets stuck in the minds of people. Take a look at the two accompanying photographs. Guess which photograph has been clicked in India, and which photograph has been taken in China. Most people may assume that the first photograph has been clicked in India. But actually, the first photograph is

▪ September-October 2018

of Guangzhou, China. The second photograph is of Mumbai, India. This kind of bias may explain these contrary facts and perceptions about India. India is one of the largest exporters of diamond worldwide. Yet on Chinese Taobao, the famous online shopping website in China, the most popular India product is still the sari and the handmade figure of Buddha. It is amazing to observe how people think. They are not willing to believe that a country which can tolerate rapists can be one of finest producers of wedding jewellery globally. This is sad for ordinary Indian men and the large business sector in India. They have not done anything wrong. Yet, they are being represented by a handful of rapists.

Mis-information feeds bias The World Wide Web provides all kind of information. But we must be aware

government data shows that Chinese people have been travelling around the world, there is a large percentage of Chinese who have not travelled. Many people in China have still never set foot outside the county. Most of Chinese gain their information through social media, especially when it comes to other countries. Understanding another nation is not easy. Lack of reliable information makes this task more difficult. Media information has become crucial in today’s world. The way the media describes things significantly influences the consumers of the information. Similarly, how the media projects India has a major impact on what people think about India.

Mumbai, India

The bottom-line is profit

When Chinese search information about India, the top three searches relate to Kamasutra, Indian movies and negative social news. of what where to find it. Most people are simply not trained to gain information from the right source. Very few people attempt to study the UN website to check all the data regarding a country, and then analyze its economic situation. Very few bother to learn about a nation’s history from a good book. People tend to rely excessively on social media. This starts influencing their way of seeing the world. Even when they are informed about the correct facts, they may keep using the wrong labels, because these labels are in circulation and are commonly used. K.E. Boulding, an American academic, pointed out in a research paper that people act according to the way the world appears to them, not necessarily according to the truth. Further research also shows that a nation’s brand can certainly influence how people feel about a country. This is why most people would

judge India or any other country based on what they ‘think’ the country is like, instead of what the country really is. Fiona Gilmore, a branding expert, stated in one of her research articles that a nation’s brand represents the core values of the nation. It stands for the reason of existence of the nation, and represents the nation’s reputation in the world. This is why bad reputation can actually hurt a country’s economy. People in China are convinced by the “Incredible Indian” joke and the “rape culture” label. It is because India appears this way to them. They exhibit the same ignorance when they discuss the UK or Russia. But in their minds, the labels persist. According to the China Tourism Academy, 141 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2018. China has a population of 1.41 billion. This means that 90% Chinese have never travelled to a foreign country. We have to admit that even now when

What influences social media? The answer is rather simple: profit. Most media companies make profit through advertising. The way to gain advertisements is to have more and more followers. For such media companies, publishing content that can gain attention is more important. Truth is secondary. In China, a social media account which has more than a million followers can easily make $20,000 approximately for each advertisement. The amount charged by the social media depends on how many people they can attract with each article. Therefore many bloggers do not care whether what they are provided with is truth or reliable information. All they need is that the information must be shocking enough to gain attention. Fiona Gilmore’s research also pointed out the other factors that are influential in building a nation’s reputation. These are government action, company advertisement and celebrity activity. For a long time, Indian companies or social media owners did not think that they needed to describe India properly to its Chinese neighbour. They let others on social media take charge of India’s reputation. No wonder, what most people learnt about India was that Indians ‘hang out of the train’. 

September-October 2018 ▪



Indian films have charmed China

It’s easy to figure out why  Xinyu Chen


angal released in China in May 2017, and went on to become the highest-earning nonHollywood movie in our country. The same year, during a summit in Kazakhstan, our President Xi Jinping told Indian Prime Minister Narendra


Modi that he too had watched and liked Dangal. After Dangal, the proportion of Indian films became steadily higher in China’s kitty of imported films. I remember the time when the share of Indian films in China used to be one in a year. Sometimes, there would be one Indian film in a few years. Now, China gets as many as four to five Indian films in a year. Most of them have gained a high reputation at the box

▪ September-October 2018

office. Bollywood movies have become an increasingly important brand to attract Chinese audiences. The explosion of Indian movies is not accidental. It is the combination of many inevitable factors.

Reasons for success

For the Chinese audiences, Bollywood films used to be synonymous with singing, dancing and romance. It is undeniable that the novelty and spectacle

of these elements became an important factor to attract Chinese audiences. But these elements alone are not enough to make Bollywood films bag a huge share of China’s box office collections. Beyond a point, the elements of singing and dancing are highly likely to cause aesthetic fatigue. The Indian films on Chinese screens which came before Dangal did not lack the elements of singing and dancing, which are considered to be the prime ingredients of ‘entertainment’. Despite these elements, those movies did not see the phenomenal success witnessed by Dangal. In addition, Dangal does not have the usual Indian mash-up of singing, dancing and romance. The same goes for Bollywood movies that came after Dangal, and made impressive collections. They were not solely centered on singing, dancing and romance. So what supports the rise of Indian films in Chinese market? The answer is clear, and is also recognized by the Chinese audiences. The reasons for the success of these films is universal values and emotional resonance. The right narrative, rhythm and structure play a significant role too, in defining a film’s success. Dangal was the play of emotions at multiple levels. The bond between father and daughter, the struggle of women to fight for their rights, the struggle of a village man to fight patriarchy. These emotions carry weight across languages and national borders. They trigger familiar notes in the audience and resonate with their life experiences. Hence, they attract box office attention and success. This is the reason why Dangal became a craze in China. This is also the reason why many movies, including those from Hollywood, have been loved by Chinese audiences for years after their release. After Dangal, many other successful Bollywood movies in China had similar characteristics. For example, the movie Hindi Medium initiated a vital discussion on educational issues. Secret Superstar dealt with narratives of dreams, domestic violence and female awakening. The fluent narrative of Bollywood

Xinyu Chen is doing Bachelor of Arts at Beijing Normal University, and is majoring in films. He is also a film-maker.

Bollywood movies have become an increasingly important brand to attract Chinese audiences. The explosion of Indian movies is not accidental. It is the combination of many inevitable factors movies also factors as a major reason for their success. This is why Indian films can capture a large audience with diverse cultural backgrounds. Behind the prosperous image of Indian films is India's increasingly mature film industry. Indian films are at the top in three spheres globally: highest film production, most diverse languages, largest audience. The drive for success in the richly varied Indian market has made the country’s

films explore ways to attract millions of audiences. It makes them showcase universal values that are appreciated by their vast range of audiences.

India’s similarities with China

As a developing and populous country, India has many similarities with China. Indian films show diverse aspects of the country’s society from different

September-October 2018 ▪



The drive for success in the richly varied Indian market has made the country’s films explore ways to attract millions of audiences. It makes them showcase universal values and emotions that are appreciated by their vast range of audiences


â–Ş September-October 2018

dimensions, landscapes and characters. These landscapes are unfamiliar to most Chinese. In the past, the imagination of the Chinese people regarding India was framed in terms of the media reports. One has to concede that the media reports may often be biased and one-sided. In the past, the Chinese used to consider India as a poorly developed country with bad infrastructure and slow pace of modernization. Through the booming Indian films, Chinese audiences have realized that India is nothing like the impoverished, dismal country they had imagined it to be. Through the Indian films screened in China, the stereotypical image of the Indian society has been broken. India is now perceived as dynamic and lively. The popularity of Indian films has refreshed the view of Indian society among Chinese audiences. From these movies, the Chinese audiences have seen more and more of the soul of India. Through the Bollywood films, the Chinese have discovered that India a country of happy, aspirational people. It is a country with affluence. It has beautiful natural landscapes. After a deeper understanding of India through these films, the Chinese have begin to calmly look at this neighboring Southeast Asian country, and discover more of its shining points. For example, China has found that India’s education system has many things worth learning. The Indian customs which are seen in films have touched the Chinese audience the most. The friendliness and delicate emotions of Indians, their pain and their loss, their ambitions and desires, resonate with the Chinese audience. All this has aroused the interest of the Chinese audiences in Indian customs. It has inspired them to explore Indian culture, and also to visit India. In Dangal, it was not only the dream of a village man and his daughters, the colourful songs and dances which fascinated the audience. They were touched by the emotions of the characters in the movies. The honest, convincing portrayal of emotions has shortened the distance between the Chinese audience and the Indian society.

Indian films a point of widespread discussion in China With more Bollywood releases in the last few years, the Chinese now have a new understanding of Indian films. In the past, when it came to Indian films, the Chinese would think that these movies would be restricted to musical entertainment. Now, the Chinese are realizing that India brings to them relatively mature films. The themes of the Indian film market are very diverse. The movies have realistic themes, and deal with them with conviction and honesty. This gives Indian movies a high degree of acceptability among Chinese viewers. It also brings them high box office collections and good reputation. Indians would not be aware that the success of Bollywood movies has encouraged Chinese film-makers. They have witnessed how Indian films with relatively similar backgrounds and markets have achieved huge success. Chinese filmmakers are now under pressure to learn from Indian excellence at film-making, and produce their own outstanding films. I have seen how the development of the Indian film market has become an inspiring model for Chinese film-makers. The young Chinese audience have discovered that the more East-style aesthetics and the more delicate emotions seen in Indian films resonate with them. These movies have also set a model of values for the Chinese society.

Convincing characters, lovable personas

Bajrangi Bhaijaan made the Chinese discover many classic characters. The dynamic but simple Bajrangi, the kindhearted Rasika, the impish Shahida. They are not shaped like gods, like we saw in old Indian movies. These characters have the authenticity of human beings, which touched the Chinese audiences the most. The movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan became a point of intense discussion among Chinese film-goers. Apart from the main character, the person whom the Chinese

Through the Indian films screened in China, the stereotypical image of the Indian society has been broken. India is now perceived as dynamic and lively

audience discussed the most was the reporter Chand Nawab. He became a subject of huge amusement for Chinese film buffs. Here was a reporter who was not welcomed, he was doing badly in the media field, and he was eager to break big news-stories every day. After meeting Bajrangi, he chanced upon a really great news-story. But in this moment of test, Chand Nawab was a different man altogether. His heart flowed with kindness and love, and his eyes were full of guilt that he may have harmed the lovable Bajrangi and Shahida. Chand Nawab was discussed as the real warrior who understood the coldness of the world, but dared to face and challenge it. This is what many Chinese audiences want for their own lives.

September-October 2018 â–Ş



Douban is China’s equivalent of Rotten Tomatoes – a website dedicated to reviews, information, and news of movies. Indian movies have earned a high score on Douban, on a scale of ten. Three Idiots scored 9.1, Dangal scored 9.1, Bajrangi Bhaijaan scored 8.5. China’s netizens have also given hot reviews to these movies. Dangal received the following review by a netizen who called himself Fengjiansun. He addressed the movie’s political issue in the following way. “The political topic of the film, whether it is nationalism or gender equality, is an important factor to attract Chinese and Indian audiences. Interestingly, the Muslim girl who watched the game shouted ‘India must win’ after the national song was played. You must not forget that the father, who took her to watch the game, is the person who kept supplying low-priced chicken to Geeta’s family. The daughter of a vegetarian Hindu ate chickens raised by Muslims, and won the gold medal in the international wrestling competition. The national appeal of the film has no need to say (sic).”


The success of Bollywood movies has encouraged Chinese film-makers. They have witnessed how Indian films with relatively similar backgrounds and markets have achieved huge success. Chinese film-makers are now under pressure to learn from Indian excellence at film-making, and produce their own outstanding films ‘India exposes the pain spots we dare not expose’

If you search China's social network, it is not difficult to find that an important reason why people recommend Indian movies is this: “India has exposed all the pain spots that we dare not expose.” For example, the uneven distribution of educational resources exists both in China and India. A film is not enough to promote educational reform. But the emergence of Three Idiots and Hindi Medium

▪ September-October 2018

made the Chinese audience review the challenges they themselves face in the education sphere. These Indian films have taken on issues of social responsibility with well-etched, convincing story-lines and characters. The Chinese films, meanwhile, have remained entangled in issues such as puppy love. Now, the Chinese audience expect more such Indian films to be released in their country, which can attract widespread social attention, and bring vital issues to the forefront. 


Calling Writers

e Subscrib Now! MONTHS












I would like to subscribe for



We encourage dynamic writers with International Affairs background to contribute in the magazine Contact: 9818003533

24 months.

My name is Mr. / Ms.________________________________________________ . Please deliver India-China Chronicle issue at my office / home address ______________________________________________________________________________________ PIN_____________________ CITY _________________________________ STATE _______________________________ INDIA.

PAYMENT DETAILS Cheque/DD No._______________________________________________ for INR _______________________________ Bank Name _________________________________________________________ Dated ________________________ in favor of INDIA CHINA ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL COUNCIL. I have read the terms and conditions and would like to avail this offer. Subscriber’s Signature _______________________ Terms and Conditions

India-China Chronicle issues are also available without this offer. Please provide full name and signature on the reverse of the cheque/DD. Please allow delivery time of 1 week after encashment of remittance. Subscription copies will be delivered by post/courier after the issue is released. India China Economic and Cultural Council will not be responsible for postal/courier delays. This offer is non-refundable and cannot be combined with any other offer. T&C are subject to change from time to time. Disputes if any will be subject to the jurisdictionF of competent courts in Delhi only. ly *Conditions Apply. th acro e la ss t

h of a e Hi India-Chinand Economic and Cultural Council th mal o


usa ya B-59, South Extension-II, New Delhi-110049. Ph: 011-41017185 nd s Email: p and lea

sur reach es


each and r layas asures a im the H usand ple o cross Fly a land of a th e th

Ad Te d:11 Em l: 00918 New ail ID: -11- Delh rese 4359 i Ho rvat 60 use, ion@ 75/7 27 csai 7/78 Bara kham in, ba Road Web site , Ne :w w De ww lhi .csa -110 01 m IN



• ` 100

RD RWA O F O TO G USTCK M E W K BABcanrloiokJack Or backwardyoyouucan sees,dlygi ie LO e C th mou - ng ard r fa The rther forwhill once fa r Ino diaf bo han the fa ton Churc be truer fo histor yf. s in c s 't d in n e W This ca ree rde steep said. relations a n rs in h C Em Web ail: in site fo@ : w cnto ww .o .cnt o.or


No RI-BUSI En odle NESS tan s gle d


Sh IE a F angh W ree ai oping g Xia ’s Tra wilDen l se ughter de A t u irs Zo Da p ne mo Me RV

Higher es omotiv

Loc ging Chug ck on Tra


ion Educat

g Breakinrrier the Ba



Ca TI Ch tchin ON ina g on up w ed ith uca




r 20







Hindi Medium does spectacular business in China Indian movie Hindi Medium earned spectacularly at the Chinese box office, doing business of more than Rs 200 crore. Its opening in China was the second-best for Bollywood films, ahead of Dangal, currently the highest-grossing Bollywood movie in China’s box office history. Hindi Medium was hugely talked about on the Chinese social media. The movie’s treatment of anxieties surrounding children’s education resonated with the Chinese, many of whom worry about their children’s performance in school and their prospects in life.


▪ September-October 2018

Football's new frontiers: India and China In the India vs China football match on October 13, India fought a wave of Chinese onslaughts to play out a remarkable goal-less draw in an international football friendly played after 21 years between the two countries. India and China, the two most populous countries, are new frontiers for the world’s game – the new lands to conquer. “Cricket was the game of the fathers. Football is the game of the sons,” declared a document promoting the creation of the Indian Super League in 2014 (for football). After cricket and kabaddi, football is the third most popular sport to watch in India. In China, football is closing in on basketball as the most popular sport in terms of fan numbers. China’s football fans are spending more on merchandise than basketball fans. The continued investment in football marketing and promotion by Europe’s top clubs has significantly improved the level of play in Chinese Super League, and jacked up the number of fans country-wide. September-October 2018 ▪



The bridge which monitors your BP, and how much you yawn China has built the longest ocean bridge and tunnel system in the world. The multi-billion dollar structure connects Hong Kong and Macau to the sprawling Pearl River delta economic zone via the Chinese mainland city of Zhuhai. The total length runs a whopping 55 kilometres (34 miles), far longer than any other bridge and tunnel combination. Hong Kong media reported that special cameras will monitor bus drivers and alert authorities if they yawn too many times as they drive across. The blood pressure of drivers will also be monitored.


â–Ş September-October 2018



China brings pickle for the people of India

hina’s budding interest in the Indian market is apparent with the increasing investment by Beijing in its neighbouring land. After creating a foray in the sectors of electronics, banking, agro chemicals etc., Chinese investors are entering the food processing sector in India. The Chinese pickle making giant from Meishan is all set to make its presence felt in the Indian market.

India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC) organized a seminar on India-China Food Processing Sector for the visiting Chinese delegation from China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Meishan Council. The main objective of their visit was to understand the business/investment opportunities in the Indian food processing sector. The delegation comprised of senior officials from CCPIT and business enterprises.

Mr Mohd. Saqib, Secretary General, India China Economic and Cultural Council greeted the Chinese delegation and welcomed them to India. Speaking in a light-hearted manner, he said that the importance of pickle in the food habits of Indians was so high that India could be called the Pickle Republic of the world. Ms Feng Yan, First Secretary, Economic & Commercial Counsellor’s Office, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in India,

September-October 2018 ▪


addressed the assembly and shared a few facts eulogizing the province Meishan. She said, “Meishan is a very beautiful part of China, and the people of Meishan are known for the longevity of their life.” Ms Yan said that there are many similarities between India and China. Both countries have a high population, and have been primarily agrarian economies. She said that there are some sectors where China is ahead of India, but the time is not far when both countries will be at par. “Meishan’s entry in the food processing division raises high hopes for the investments that China will be pouring into India,” she said. ICEC and CCPIT (China Council for the Promotion of International Trade) signed an MOU at the event to boost cooperation between the two nations in the food processing division. Mr. Lin Quan, Vice Director of the People Government of Meishan, Dongpo District Committee, in his address said, “Meishan is an important name in the food processing industry in China. India and China have a close geographical, commercial and developmental progress chart. We are confident that Meishan products will do very well in the Indian market.” Mr. Fan Chunwen, Party Secretary of the Management Committee of Meishan “Chinese Pao Cai City” said, “We produce about 130 kinds of pickle which are famous all over the world. We are looking for new cooperation and trade association in India.” China’s entry into the Indian food processing sector will be significantly strengthened by Meishan’s entry into the Delhi market. The Chinese delegation appreciated that organizations like ICEC and CCPIT are working earnestly to augment the cooperation amongst the business units of India and China which are willing to expand their bases in the respective countries.



Meeting with Delegation from Hubei Province

n August 8, 2018, delegates from the Department of Land and Resources of Hubei Province visited India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC). The group was led by Deputy Director Mr. Shen Xuejun. His colleagues comprised Deputy Director Mr. Tang Zuoyou, Yichang Bureau of Land and Resources; Chief Engineer Mr. He Yuanwen, Ezhou Bureau of Land and Resources; Director General Mr. Chen Qingping, Xiaogan Bureau of Land and Resources Urban Sub Bureau and Branch Leader Mr. Wu Xingzhong, Jingmen Land and Resources Law Enforcement Supervision Detachment. The objective of their visit was to understand the status of land reforms in India with regard to ownership and

▪ September-October 2018

use of the land for various purposes, agricultural and commercial alike. ICEC explained the system of land ownership in India including the taxation system, rehabilitation schemes, policy and procedures for acquiring land. ICEC also informed the delegates about the incentives provided for foreign investment in designated SEZs and tech parks. During the question and answer session, the status of mineral and other non-renewable resources sector, and the recent shift of the Indian government towards encouraging the use of renewable resources, especially solar energy, was discussed. The meeting concluded on a very positive note. Mr. Shen Xuejun invited the Indian businessmen to Hubei, and looked forward to cooperation with ICEC in the near future.

Education Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018


he Education Forum for Asia, with the support of Chengdu Bureau of Expo Affairs, and Chengdu Education Bureau, organized the Education Forum for Asia Annual Conference from September 20-22 in Chengdu, China. The conference this year centered on the theme of “Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind, Creating a Bright Tomorrow for Asian Education”. Eminent politicians, Nobel Prize laureates, foreign diplomats to China, renowned international experts in the fields of technology, education, culture and innovation, and representatives from educational institutions, enterprises and media outlets participated in the forum. The topics discussed at the forum included University Mission Forum, international education exchange, Asia-pacific vocational education and international cooperation, future education of primary and secondary school, art education and

innovation and entrepreneurship, youth creativity and invention, artificial intelligence and educational entrepreneurship, youth leadership and so on. As co-organizers of the Education Forum for Asia, India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC) facilitated delegates from India to participate in the event. Mr. Manish Kothari, Managing Director, ISBR Business School, Bangalore was invited to speak in the University Mission Forum. He initiated a dialogue on the theme of ‘Building a community of shared future for mankind, exploring the mission of modern universities’. Mr. Kothari in his speech, emphasized that in order to achieve a community of shared future, several initiatives must be taken. Greater student exchange, including holistic development in the curriculum, uniform credit system and focus on nutrition and health of students were some of the areas which needed focus, he said.

September-October 2018 ▪


2nd Meeting of BRICS Working Group on Science, Technology and Driven Entrepreneurship (STIEP) 2018


he International Technology Transfer Network organized the 2nd Meeting of the BRICS working group on Science, Technology and Driven Entrepreneurship (STIEP) from September 14-19, 2018, in Kunming, China. Delegates from various countries were invited to come together and share projects that showed entrepreneurial potential in the fields of biomedicine, advanced manufacturing and information technology. India China Economic and Cultural Council facilitated delegates from India to participate in the event. Three key persons were invited from the field of biomedicine, information technology and digital education to make presentations about their venture at the forum. The event gave its speakers and participants the opportunity to interact with academicians, entrepreneurs and innovators; learn about various technologies, and explore their transfer and exchange. As ITTN’s representative partners in India, ICEC organized the participation of the following delegates. Mr. Vipul Jain, Founder and CEO, Advancells: Stem Cell Therapies. This is a research-based company focusing on providing cutting edge Stem Cell Therapies for patients with life


▪ September-October 2018

threatening diseases. The company also caters to solutions for lifestyle diseases and anti-aging technology. Advancells is slowly rising to be a leader in the space of regenerative medicine which is routinely called the future of modern medicine. Mr. Vaibhav Bhalla, Co-founder and CEO, The Founders Café. This is a startup incubator based in India, which has mentored and invested in more than 50 startups in the IoT/ hardware products range, and in the connected workspaces domain. Mr Bhalla shared the project Velmenni – a startup company working in the visible light communication domain commonly known as LiFi Technology. Mr. Aditya Singh, Founder and Chairman, Alexis Group. Mr Singh spoke about his project Edulively, which makes holistic education accessible and interactive for learners of all ages using advanced techniques such as personality tests, psychoanalysis, artificial intelligence, deep learning and predictive analytics. Mr Singh was highly appreciative of the role played by ICEC in this key event. “Thank you ICEC for providing such a useful learning opportunity. Definitely an enriching experience for me,” he noted.

Brand Air China Limited Air China national flag carrier of P.R.China and member of the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance. Headquartered in Beijing, Air China is committed to providing passengers with the "Four Cs" service of Credibility, Convenience, Comfort and Choice. Air China’s frequent flyer program, with over 50 million members PhoenixMiles has the longest history of any frequent flyer program in China. Air China and its subsidiaries owned a fleet of 655 aircraft as on December 2017, Air China operated a total of 420 passenger routes, including 101 international routes, 16 regional routes and 303 domestic routes, serving 185 destinations in 40 countries, through our partnership with Star Alliance Air China offered services to 1,330 destinations in 192 countries.


“The Initiative proposed by the Chinese government, has started and Air China will propose more routes serving the countries along the - One Belt, One Road”. Air China inaugurated its first flight between Beijing & New Delhi bridging the common cultures in 2006. The journey of expansion in India continued with the launch of our Beijing & Mumbai flight route in 2015. The Grand inauguration of Beijing – Mumbai route was attended by the prominent members from The Consulate of P.R.China, Trade Partners, Corporate and Media Partners. This marked a new beginning of Sino-Indian relation of Culture, Trade & Economics. Air China introduced Brand New wide body Airbus A330-300 for its service to India, operating 5 Weekly Non-Stop Flights between Beijing & New Delhi and 4 Weekly Non-Stop Flights between Beijing & Mumbai offering 3 class configuration of 30 Business Class Fully Flat Bed, 16 Premium Economy and 259 Economy Class Seats.

INSPIRING VALUES Inauguration Beijing – Mumbai Flight

Appreciating Trade Partners: Sometimes saying thank you is just not enough, appreciating the support is a powerful way of displaying our gratitude to our trade partners. Air China appreciates Travel Agents & Trade Partners by awarding them “Recognition Award” for their support. Product Education to Trade Partners: Introducing products and services, increasing company’s brand awareness and driving sales. Marketing can’t accomplish any of its purposes without effective Product Knowledge. Air China India in our continued effort always maintains close contact with our trade partner and educate them with our product on regular basis. Our partner interacts directly with our guest and it is necessary they have complete knowledge of our product and offer it with confidence. Air China conduct Product Work Shop in major metros & feeder market cities in India.

Recognition Award Mumbai

Travel Agents Product Workshop, Mumbai

Profile for India China Chronicle