Vol 1, Issue 3, Jan-Feb 2011 Editor Prashun Bhaumik Editorial Board Abid Hussain Mani Shankar Aiyar P.S. Deodhar Dilip Cherian Amir Ullah Khan Parama Sinha Palit Chen Si (China) Editorial Team Anchit Goel Aanchal Kumar Harshie Wahie Irfan Alam Manju Hara Sumelika Bhattacharyya Swaralipi Maity Design Manoj Raikwar Printed and Published by India China Economic and Cultural Council K-19 (GF), South Extension-II New Delhi- 110049 address for all correspondence India China Economic and Cultural Council K-19 (GF), South Extension-II New Delhi- 110049 Telefax: 011-46550348 Printed AT Print Vision Private Limited Print Vision House, Lane opp. Central Bank of India, Ambawadi Market, Ahmedabad- 380006 Tel: 079-26405200/26403320 E-mail: email@example.com All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.
All advertising enquiries, comments and feedback are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 the magazine.
Go Beyond Borders Monsoon in the north-east is an experience. The Brahmaputra at its mightiest consuming huge swathes of land! Not far from the quaint Circuit House on stilts in Dibrugarh, I watched the river which originates in Tibet flow like the sea; each year Dibrugrah losing bits of itself. And that night one discovered the genius of Zhang Yimou, having watched the Chinese master’s first film Red Sorghum by sheer chance at the Circuit House’s dining room: On Doordarshan and over Masor tenga (Assamese fish curry) and rice. Unforgettable! It was the mid-nineties. Next morning found me at the wheel of an original red Maruti with my gracious host and (then) wife Saba on way to the Bogapani tea estate in Margherita, the very far eastern corner of our fascinating country. On way we stopped by two places – Digboi and Stilwell Road. Strangely both names conjured a certain romance. Maybe not for the Indian labour who were made to dig furiously for oil in the 1890s – “Dig Boy Dig”. It was a British officer Mr Goodenough or so the story goes who stumbled upon oil while building rail tracks to transport tea. (Before Assam, China was the sole supplier of tea for the British market – remember the saying ‘Not for all the tea in China’). Good enough. Digboi got its name and remains the oldest oil producing refinery in the world. It was discovered barely seven years after the first one in Pennsylvania or so I think. Roughly six-km north-west of Margherita is Ledo, also known as “the land of coal.” During World War II British general Vinegar Joe Stilwell constructed the Stilwell highway from Ledo to Myitkyina, north-east of Myanmar. Stilwell road, which is 430-km long, was built in 1944 and is known as the costliest road in the world of that time but is closed for transport today. Originally coined as the Ledo road, it was later dedicated to the memory of Gen Stilwell. A year later, I found myself at Manipur’s border town with Myanmar – Moreh. A one-horse town much like the Wild West, Moreh had more moneyexchange kiosks than anything else. Smuggling was controlled strangely by Tamils, and the few hotels were run by Sikhs who left Burma after the Junta took over. Bicycles were at a premium across the border, and everyone on the payroll, informs a heavy bare-bodied smuggler in blue Madras check lungi in a small shack flowing with Heineken beer, coke cans and imported cigarettes. He was high up on the gang ladder. Anyway, next morning along with some Manipuri journalists we walked across the border to the nearest town of Tamu, 5 km away. We were inside Burma, illegally, having left all our Indian ID papers behind. Across the border, the army looked more like the militia – lungis and vests with guns slung casually over their shoulders. At the first check post a portly officer who noticed I was smoking Chinese cigarettes joked it could affect my manhood. All very casual! Rounded off Tamu with some genuine Burmese Khao soi or Khao suey! It was around the same time that one almost made it legally to Yangon. The Junta had decided to take a team of journalists across. I was among the lucky. With the thought that Mandalay and Rangoon were soon going to be a reality one filled in the papers. But shortly our passports were returned saying the trip had been put off for a while. But it was never to be. The upshot I got to read Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace. “A ceaselessly flowing stream of life,” roads are all about love and life. They must be opened up for travel, pilgrimage, tourism and of course trade. After all fences do not keep others out; they keep you in.
58 Top 10 books
to read about China
Congruence not competition
This is a big relationship with the clear possibility of an ambitious agenda of mutual engagement that will be one of the most important bilateral equations of our new century.
LOOK EAST POLICY
12 Still well but
not kicking yet
All is not well with the Stilwell Road that once linked India with China. But given the Chinese enthusiasm, and if matched by the Indians, the road could once again, well, recreate its romance, and restart business.
That’s what these two great nations seem to get as travellers from either country these days, and yet there have been a great number of travellers and timeless accounts in books thousand years ago. There is an urgent need to revive the interest and thus give tourism between the two countries a fresh fillip.
Face2Face Things aren’t always what they seem. Marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you to see them. Artists and governments do too. But a general survey among the people in both India and China shows how people see through this prism of perception and reality.
in table of five
India’s chair at United Nations Security Council
In India & In China
BEYONG THE GREAT WALL
56 Looking East to
64 Three Idiots
28 Room for the sixth
62 Exhibitions &
38 Talking in Tones 40 Kolkata 2 Kunming
60 Beijing Bicycle
At the famous Gandharva Mahavidyalaya’s ground floor studio – the teacher Odissi’s famous exponent Madhavi Mudgal and student Uma Li
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when Buddhism entered China, let us not forget Gurudev, for he was the pioneer and the very symbol of this revival of international cultural collaboration.
The time is right for some constructive action and not just annual summits.
not top down
If India has to emerge as global leader in clean energy without compromising its development needs then it has to formulate a renewable energy law.
48 The Bard in Beijing
If one day the cultural relationship between our two countries can reach the same extent as in the glorious days January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |3|
f e e d b a c k Radical Strokes All articles were on China or IndoChina – none on only India. As a lay person, a. I liked both the balance of Articles and the content b. Easy to understand – very few jargon c. Very relevant to the current times – all information and thoughts can be used in a discussion at a party – I like it d. Is the tone deliberately positive? I would have liked to see the other side of the Indo-China relationship too Count the positives Read both the issues. I have witnessed major negative views on China whether in media or among the general public on various issues. However, the India China Chronicle is doing a wonderful job in breaking that perception and bringing to light the reality of actual growth and looking forward towards opportunities for further growth of not only India but also China. If the relations has to grow it is very important to count the positives of each other and work upon it. This is exactly what India China Chronicle is trying to do. Thanks a ton. – Sarika Malhotra
Specific Articles a. Loved Radical Strokes! I believe you plan to make it a regular feature – if you don’t, I strongly recommend it! b. Did not read the whole thing, but liked “Chandni Chowk to China” and “Why don’t they get India?” c. I thought you tried to develop the tourism aspect of China by –
Shared values India and China are the two of the oldest civilizations, they are developing economies and in fact they are developing at a very fast pace to become the most challenging economies in the world. India and China are major traders and both countries are working in close collaboration on various projects. In medical field also a lot of clinical research is going on in India and China. India and China share some core cultural values which bring both the countries together. Gradually the language barrier would be overcome and then these two powerful economies would certainly become an example for the whole world. – Anushrita Singh |4| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
“China’s best kept secret” That was a good read, I would like some similar ones in the next few issues too Sahil Patwa, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Class of 2011 • B.Tech Two heads better than one I went through the e-magazine and liked it quite a bit. Though at the outset I felt its very China Centric, following are my observations. • It is well laid out • The articles are relevant • I read through China’s best kept secret, Two heads are better than one and Policy and paradox • Inclusion of pictures makes it very appealing to read • The article on Chinese Script can be more of a tutorial than a narration How about including (in the next issues)• Interviews with Indian businessmen in China and vice versa • Families settled in either country for more than a decade - their perspective of the country’s people and culture – Usha Pillai
INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | FOREIGN POLICY
Future of India-China relations
not competition This is a big relationship with the clear possibility of an ambitious agenda of mutual engagement that will be one of the most important bilateral equations of our new century.
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010 saw India and China celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In December Premier Wen Jiabao was in India to participate in the closing ceremony of the Festival of China in India brought to a close the calendar of activities organized in both China and India to commemorate this occasion. Sixty years is a short period of time in the relations of two countries whose ties date back many millennia. Ours has always been a broader engagement that took place between our peoples. Throughout history, scholars and pilgrims, traders and travellers, who mortgaged their lives for pilgrimage” in the words of the renowned Chinese Indologist Ji Xianlin, engaged in a traffic of ideas between the two countries. The Buddhism that travelled from India to China was successfully Sinicised and survived in China as it found a place in the heart and soul of the people. It is in the context of our historical and popular relationship that we must always view and evaluate our contemporary relationship. Indeed, this was the vision that inspired Rabindranath Tagore during his sojourns in China in the early decades of the 20th Century. The six decades of the India-China relationship behind us have a record that is chequered. We became arbiters of our national destinies from the date of India’s independence and China’s liberation in the late forties of the last century, inspiring many others in Asia and Africa to independence and the fruition of national goals to end colonialism and foreign domination. This was the time when India and China in a sense, rediscovered each other, understanding the potential of the synergy between two of the largest populated nations in the world on the global stage. The vision of our founding fathers is in many ways within our reach today as we regain our place in Asia and the world as leading global economies. The awareness and the “muffled footsteps” (to use Tagore’s phrase) of historical contact January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |7|
INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | FOREIGN POLICY
between the two peoples of India and China created the basis for our wellintentioned attempt in the fifties to build a new type of relationship based on Panchasheela or the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It was an attempt which however faltered, telescoping into the troubled phase that enveloped our relationship in the sixties up until the mid seventies. The leadership in both our countries understood the untenability of any sustained estrangement between us. The last three decades have been marked by well-intentioned efforts of exploration towards establishing the framework of a stable, peaceful, productive, and multisectoral relationship between India and China. Contradictions are sought to be managed, and our differences have not prevented an expanding bilateral engagement and building on congruence. There are elements of cooperation and competition that form the warp and weft of our relationship. There are both challenges that the relationship confronts us with and also there are opportunities before it. As our Prime Minister has said, India and China will continue to grow, simultaneously, and our policies will have to cater to this emerging reality. For India, the situation is complex since China is not only our largest neighbour but also because China is today a major power in the world both from the traditional geo-political point of view and the more current geo-economic point of view. In the world of today, China is a factor in several equations and therefore it is intellectually satisfying to see that scholarship in India is increasingly dedicated to looking more closely at all facets of China. As a nation, we should encourage more efforts to accelerate this intellectual drive to understand China. I personally have had an almost three decades-old relationship with China, both in our Foreign Office while handling relations with China and thereafter when I was privileged to represent my country as India’s Ambassador to China. In this period, I have witnessed the transformation that economic growth and development have helped to achieve in both
countries. I made my first trip to China in the company of an Indian film delegation in the spring of 1986. We travelled to Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou. City streets swarmed with people on bicycles, and we flew in to the various places on our itinerary within China in planes that seemed ancient compared to what we had in India. There were no luxury hotels worth speaking of although economic reform had become the buzz-word. The countryside had begun to be magnetized by town and village enterprises which were elevating living standards among farmers and peasants. The trip had receded into the recesses of my memory until I saw a photograph in a recent publication of China Radio International which showed two young women – the actor Shabana Azmi and myself - standing outside a palace in the Forbidden City on a rather blustery spring day in 1986!
As a nation, we should encourage more efforts to accelerate this intellectual drive to understand China.
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That first trip was followed by many more, the most significant such visit being when I was a member of the official delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in December 1988. That visit made a historic and crucially important contribution to the transformation of the India-China relationship. China’s rapid economic growth over the last three decades has been spectacular and riveting. It is now the second largest economy in the world with a GDP of roughly USD 5.5 trillion. Its people, particularly the youth, seem focused on improving their living standards in the quest for a prosperous future, and politics does not define their everyday. China has begun to deal in the currency of global power and its economic success is impacting its foreign, defence and security policies. The appellation of assertiveness is frequently applied to China’s profile in global affairs today. The question that I am always asked is whether our relationship with China will be one dominated by increasing competition for influence and for resources as our economic needs grow. I believe that neither of us has the luxury of seeing each other in antagonistic terms. The view that India and China are rivals to me is an over-generalization as well as over-
simplification of a complex relationship which encompasses so many diverse issues. I believe the proposition of competition and rivalry should not be exaggerated in a manner that it overshadows our genuine attempts to manage and transact a rationally determined relationship between India and China. The reality is that India and China have worked hard over the last two decades to enhance dialogue in a number of fields and we must maintain and build on that trend. It is true that divergences persist. There is no denying the fact that we have a disputed border. There are legacies as well as lessons bequeathed to us by history. This is a complex problem and the cartographies that define national identity are internalized in the minds of people in both countries. At the same time we are making a serious attempt at trying to arrive at a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question as the recent fourteenth round of the Special Representatives talks will testify. The absence of a solution to the question is not due to lack of efforts but arises from the difficulty of the question, as any analyst can well appreciate. What also needs to be appreciated is that the India-China boundary is
In the world of today, China is a factor in several equations and therefore it is intellectually satisfying to see that scholarship in India is increasingly dedicated to looking more closely at all facets of China. one of the most peaceful of all borders. We have in place a well organized set of measures or what we call confidence building measures or CBMs to ensure peace and tranquility on the border. We are currently talking to each other on establishing more such mechanisms. There is maturity on both sides to understand the complexity of the issue and to insulate it from affecting our broader relationship. This policy on both sides I think has paid dividends and has contributed towards reducing the possibility of conflict. The dividend from this policy can be seen in other
areas of our relationship. Another issue of concern is the management of trans-border rivers. Many of the rivers nourishing the plains of Northern India and also areas in North-east India arise in the highlands of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and are a source of livelihood and sustenance for millions of our people. We are alert to reports of China damming trans-border rivers and have sought assurances from China that it will take no action to negatively affect the flow of the rivers into India, and so that our rights as the lower riparian are not adversely affected. China has assured us that the projects on the Bramhaputra are runof-the-river projects and are not meant for storing or diverting water. We look forward to working closely with China in this critical area of environmental and livelihood security. There is then the question of the China-Pakistan relationship. India firmly believes that a stable and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest, and we are not against Pakistan’s relations with other countries. While I agree that relationships between countries are not zero-sum games, we do not hesitate to stress our genuine concerns regarding some aspects of the China-Pakistan relationship particularly when it comes to China’s role in PoK, China’s J&K policy and the Sino-Pak security and nuclear relationship. The need for mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns cannot be denied. The issue of giving stapled visas to Indian nationals from the state of Jammu and Kashmir arises in a similar context. We believe that the India-China relationship will grow even stronger as China shows more sensitivity on core issues that impinge on our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope this can be realized. Our trade with China is growing faster than that with any other country and China is our largest trading partner in goods with trade likely to exceed US$ 60 billion this year. There is also serious discussion between the two countries on correcting the trade imbalance and we would like to see more Indian goods and services entering
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INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | FOREIGN POLICY
the Chinese market. Many Chinese companies are now well established in India and many Indian companies are also opening up in China. We in India have also worked to resolve hurdles that have sometimes been faced by Chinese companies to ensure a level playing field for all foreign investors. We also expect similar access to Chinese markets especially in the area of pharmaceuticals, IT, engineering goods, where our companies have often faced non-tariff and opaque barriers. Our bilateral investment relationship is also steadily growing. India is one of China’s largest markets for project contracting. India needs an investment of US $ 1 trillion during the next Five-Year Plan period in infrastructure. China is well positioned to participate in this process. The results of our policy of engagement are manifest in many areas and are not limited to bilateral trade and investment alone. Over 7,000 Indian students study in China, and the CBSE is set to introduce Chinese in the curriculum of schools from the next academic session. India and China cooperate in multilateral forums and on global issues. We have established a practice of regular leadership visits and meetings that has resulted in high level political understanding and impetus for the relationship. This now sets the stage for us to actively consider together the next steps in the evolution of our bilateral relations; evolve a detailed framework for the resolution of the boundary issue in a manner that is politically feasible for both countries; and, seize the opportunities for cooperation that the domestic transformations of our economies and the evolving global situation have opened up. There is also an information gap that keeps our peoples from understanding each other better and which we need to bridge by concerted public diplomacy from both sides. There is much work to be done to improve perceptions within the media in both countries. Larger numbers of tourists need to be encouraged as also students and teachers. The global trend towards multipolarity and a more even distribution of power has been accelerated by the
What also needs to be appreciated is that the India-China boundary is one of the most peaceful of all borders. We have in place a well organized set of measures or what we call confidence building measures or CBMs to ensure peace and tranquility on the border. recent global economic crisis. While the immediate financial aspects of the crisis may have been addressed, its structural causes in terms of global imbalances remain unsolved. This provides an opportunity to India and China to work together on global issues. Our participation and consultations within the G-20 have shown the way in this regard. Similarly, we have partnered well in BASIC (for the climate change negotiations), and in the BRIC grouping of Brazil, India, Russia and China. We hope such cooperation will also be strengthened on the important issue of UN Reform and that we will be able to build
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common ground on the issue relating to the expansion of the Security Council and India’s interest in permanent membership. The two countries share common positions and approaches on several major international issues of long-term significance such as the environment and climate change, energy security, food security, reform of the global financial institutions, etc. In the immediate region in which both countries are located, Asia, as well, there is common ground between India and China on combating terrorism and extremism, enhancing maritime security, and on the need for a peaceful environment to permit the domestic economic growth and development of the two countries. An open, balanced and inclusive architecture to enable a transparent dialogue on these issues that concern security and stability in Asia is in the interest of both our countries. As India and China continue to pursue their interests, and so long as their overwhelming preoccupation remains their domestic transformation, and both understand that this goal requires a peaceful periphery, it is my firm conviction that the elements of competition in the bilateral relationship can be managed and the elements of congruence can be built upon. As our interests get progressively more complex, the costs of any withdrawal from engagement will rise. I believe this is a big relationship with the clear possibility of an ambitious agenda of mutual engagement that will be one of the most important bilateral equations of our new century. It is in our interest to view it in a more wide-angled and high definition manner than ever before.
Nirupama Rao is Foreign Secretary of India. The article is part of a speech she delivered at the ORF Conference on China
INFOCUS | KUNMING | REPORT
THE ASIAN HIGHWAY
Still well but not kicking yet
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All is not well with the Stilwell Road that once linked India with China. But given the Chinese enthusiasm, and if matched by the Indians, the road could once again, well, recreate its romance.
aving travelled extensively on the great highways linking China and the Indian neighbourhood, highways that were once the great silk routes, I am gladdened by the rebirth of the Stilwell Road. For me it is another highway, another destination. New areas will become accessible to all Silk Road travellers like me on the Ledo-Kunming highway. More interesting is the fact that if we
link this historic Stilwell Road with the 4th century BC Mauryan Road, also called the Uttarapath or the Northern High Road [the Grand Trunk Road of present times] that linked Sonargaon [now in Bangladesh’s Narayanganj district] through Chandraketugarh [Kolkata] with Kabul, we have the heady mix of the Kunming–Kabul Link. Several years ago, it was by chance that while browsing through some old books at Daryaganj I happened to lay hands on Rehman Sobhan’s Rediscovering The Southern Silk Route. Yunnan was the pivot of this Southern Silk Route as it traded in salt, tea and horses. Even during the times of the great Venetian traveller Marco Polo (AD thirteenth century) Yunnan was in direct contact with India: “In this province (Yunnan) also are bred large and excellent horses which are taken to India for sale,” says Marco. (Henry Yule, Henri Cordier, The Book of Ser Marco Polo Vol. II, Chap. XLIX p.76) It is said that for centuries Yunnan and Assam and Bengal forged a link for trade and cultural interaction between China and India. This was probably because the three provinces shared an all weather route and were separated by a short distance of only a few days. Whereas it took months to travel [and with great risk through the difficult Himalayan ranges] from India to other provinces of China viz. Xinjiang and Sichuan through Tibet. Because of the proximity of Assam, Bengal and Yunnan, trade ties between India and China are said to have developed as early as 2000 years ago when the Southern Silk Road from Yunnan carried the maximum trade with the North-Eastern and Eastern provinces of India. Even during the time of the Mauryan emperor Asoka [around BC 3rd century] people were travelling to Yunnan and Talifu [Dali] was a known place on the itinerary of the Indian traveller. Asoka himself is said to have travelled to Talifu and married the princess of the ruling dynasty. [see Rediscovering the Southern Silk Route; Sobhan Rehman; p2,3] Sobhan Rehman’s book focused on an integrated transport infrastructure India-China Chronicle |13|
INFOCUS | KUNMING | REPORT
linked by the Silk Routes through South Asia to form the Great Asian Highway for uninterrupted travel between Asia and Europe. The Asian Highway envisaged would start from Kunming in the Yunnan province of China, pass through Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and onwards would be linked with the networks in West and Central Asia and that of Europe. With China now set to build the Stilwell Road which crosses Myanmar to directly link India with China the prospect of the Great Asian Highway has become a reality. Interestingly, the Southern Silk Road has also been identified as a ‘possible route for the Asian Highway’, under the Asian Land Transport and Infrastructure Development (ALTID) project. The highway project, initiated in 1959, by U. Nyun, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Asia and Far East was ‘designed to provide uninterrupted travel from Asia to Europe’ through India. The Kunming–Kolkata road is said to follow the path of the ancient Southern route through Myanmar and Pragjyotisha (present Assam) to Chandraketugarh (thirty-five kilometres north-east of present Kolkata) Existing up to recent times the head of this 1700 km long Southern Silk Road lay at Kunming in the Yunnan province of Southwest China leading through Myanmar to Ledo in the Indian province of Assam. Called the Ledo-Burma Road (also named the Stilwell Road after General Joseph Warren Stilwell) it passed through Lekhapani, Jairampur, Nampong and Pangsau pass on the India-Burma border, winding up the passes of Patkai Range and running up to Mytkyina and Bhamo and onwards to Kunming. Another overland route from Kunming via Ruili, Mandalay, Imphal passed through the towns of Moreh and Tamu on the Indo-Myanmar border along the present National Highway-39. It could run up to Sonargaon (in Narayanganj district of Bangladesh, twenty-seven kilometres south-east from present day Dakha in Bangladesh) to join the eastern arm of the Uttarapath (later the Grand Trunk Road) or take the route to Chittagong, the traditional port on
the Bay of Bengal. It is learnt that till 1950 India and China had their trade agents in each other’s country. The practice can be revived for trade and tourism through the border posts which will become money earners as lakhs of Indians and Chinese small traders will then go into each other’s regions to sell their wares and make purchases. The all weather routes between the Indo-Chinese border districts were the branch routes of the ancient Silk Road through which the people have been travelling for trade and pilgrimage. Xinjiang, Tibet, Yunnan- the border provincesofChinawerealwaysincontact
Because of the proximity of Assam, Bengal and Yunnan, trade ties between India and China are said to have developed as early as 2000 years ago when the Southern Silk Road from Yunnan carried the maximum trade with the NorthEastern and Eastern provinces of India. with Indian border provinces in the North, East and West. It is recorded that till 1950 a Tibetan Trade Agent was posted at Sadiya, a town in Assam on the north banks of the Lohit river. Similarly an Indian agent was posted at Rimo in Tibet. The distance between Sadiya to Tibet is barely 80 km as the crow flies–the shortest distance to Tibet anywhere on the Indo-Tibet border. According to Romesh Bhattacharji [Lands of Early Dawn, p20] a road existed between Tezu and Walong, very well maintained and tarred . This led up to Kibithoo and Kahao; from
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here to Rimo was a distance of only 30 km. This area is absolutely beautiful and well connected and can become an all weather route between China and India. The Highway Builder During the course of my adventurous travels In Quest of the Buddha on the Chinese Silk Road I became more and more aware that the Chinese had mastered the art of road making. Whether it was in the deserts of the Gobi, the Taklamakan, the high mountains of the Pamirs or in the valley of the Lhasa, Brahmaputra or the
Yangtse rivers, on the glacial heights of the Tibetan plateau, the Chinese had done an excellent job. These were not simply roads but multi-lane express highways. Sometime ago there were few roads in China. Through the gorgeous mountains and vast plateau plains, through the deserts and the river valleys, caravans chugged along dangerously. Today massive road network of tens of thousands of kilometres have been put up. It includes international highways like the China-Pakistan Karakoram Highway [KKH], China Nepal
Friendship Highway, the Intercontinental Bridge [linking China with Europe], National highways like the A312 and A314 through Xinjiang, Qinghai-Tibet Highway, the TibetSichuan Highway, the Yunnan-Tibet Highway and the Xinjiang –Tibet Highway. I had the fortune of travelling on several of the above highways during the course of my Silk Road project in China. The highways approximate to the strands of the ancient Silk Routes that crisscrossed China, joined the trade routes through India and sped across to Central Asia and Iran on way
Multi-lane highway from Kunming running towards Ruili
to the Mediterranean. The Karakoram starts from the Renmin Xi Lu in Kashgar and leads south for over 2000 km over the Khunjerab Pass into Pakistan tracing the ancient trade route to Taxila in Pakistan. In ancient times this route at Taxila met the Uttarapath or the Northern Highroad coming from Vaishali. For thousands of years traders and pilgrims have travelled on this mountainous route branching into China, Pakistan,
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India, Afghanistan and Tajikistan connecting China, South Asia and Central Asia. China and Pakistan jointly cut this Asian highroad across the Pamirs and the Karakoram Range during the 1960’s connecting Kashgar with Rawalpindi and Islamabad via the Khunjerab Pass through Gilgit. One can travel anywhere in Tibet through the wide network of national highways connecting every major town and almost every village. Even in the remotest destinations one can find internet cafes. I had the opportunity of travelling on the Tibet-Sichuan Highway 318 where power cables run all along the mighty mountains. Not even for a second does the mobile phone service go off on the mighty highway that passes through some of the most difficult terrains of Tibet and Sichuan provinces. The highway continues to run for over 2000 km through Chamdo, Dege and Tachien-lu [Darchendo] before joining Chengdu. It goes up to Shanghai through Wuhan covering a journey of 5000 km from Lhasa. From Shanghai the national highway goes up to Beijing connecting it with Lhasa. It is said to be one of the greatest Asiatic trade routes like the Grand Trunk Road of India. The most elevated miraculous Qinghai-Tibet 4000 km railroad from Beijing to Lhasa covering hundreds of kilometers of permanently frozen ground was launched in 2006 bringing the Chinese railways within barely 600 km of the Indian Railways in Darjeeling. At the Tanggula Pass at 5072 metres above sea level the train passes the highest point in the world’s railway. Other famous highways built by China are the famous 1000km China-Nepal Friendship Highway connecting Kathmandu through Zhangmu to Lhasa. Trade and Tourism Since ancient times there has been a continuous movement of people and trade, religion and culture between China and India through the branches of the Great Silk Road. Even the great barriers of the Himalayas have not been able to restrict and restrain this exchange nor block the strands. The
people of both countries have crossed mountains and rivers along their borders to forge a unique bond of friendship. If we take into account the vast amount of literature by travellers, historians, geographers, linguists dealing with the story of the Silk Road, we learn that India and China were exchanging travellers on a gigantic scale since ancient times. The Silk Road and its other trading branches viz. the Spice Road, Jade Road, Tea Road, Salt Road, Musk and the Horse Road – all formed a web that inter-weaved travellers from India and China. The roads were named after the commodities that were
I had the opportunity of travelling on the TibetSichuan Highway 318 where power cables run all along the mighty mountains. Not even for a second does the mobile phone service go off on the mighty highway that passes through some of the most difficult terrains of Tibet and Sichuan provinces. transported. For this reason it is said that the first really large scale exchange of travellers in recorded history was between India and China. The bond was so unique and fabulous that scholars studying Chinese art styles and history found a close connection with India. With the building of the Stilwell Road through Myanmar ancient townships and bazaars, ancient transports can be brought to life again. All this will not only rekindle trade and commerce but also the excitement and romance of the ancient world. The splendid forecast by the World Tourism Organisation that by 2020,
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China will account for an out-bound volume of 100 million travelers, the largest in the world and India’s could be 50 million has brought great hopes for both countries. The Tourism sector is a powerful economic market and India and China can make the most of it by joining hands on this Stilwell Road to draw up alluring projects. It is here that the heritage of the Silk Road and the beautiful Buddhist sites in both countries may become prized locations. Two Pivotal Points From Kunming roads lead to Myanmar and link India at two pivotal points – One in Assam at Ledo and another in Manipur at Moreh. If the Moreh-Kunming route becomes functional it would bring prosperity for the deprived people of the region. Another all weather road is the above mentioned Ledo Road. The National Highway 38 branches off to Margherita and Ledo which were trading centres for tea, oil and coal. The road leads towards Pangsau Pass in Myanmar and onwards to Kunming in Yunnan. Ledo was the beginning of the World War II road – the Stilwell Road and a supply route. This road will now be rebuilt and upgraded and the whole area of Margherita and Ledo will become a tourist hub for not only India, China and Myanmar, but also for the world. It will also help to improve the economy of the towns that lie close to the road and in India’s North-east. Of the 1700 km of the road 61 km is in India, 1000 in Myanmar and about 600 in Yunnan. In China it is a six-lane expressway. It is said that the opening of this road will cut the distance between India and China by 5000 km and transport will take a mere two days to reach from Kolkata to Kunming and vice-versa.
Sunita Dwivedi is author of In Quest of the Buddha- A journey on the Silk Road
ackie Chan and Bruce Lee are better known Chinese in India than one of the most powerful leaders of the world -- Hu Jintao. This observation spells out how important is the informal route to build bridges between two nations. A nation-wide field survey was carried out in India and China to make an assessment of how people on both side of the border look at each other in different spheres.
The tiger and the dragon
Things aren’t always what they seem. Marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you to see them. Artists and governments do too. But a general survey among the people in both India and China shows how people see through this prism of perception and reality. |18| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
Foreign Policy Foreign policy of a nation does not function in a vacuum. It is a product of the prevailing international environment and its geo-centric location, along with the country’s indices in terms of its economic health, military strength and domestic stability. Foreign policies of both countries, India and China, made a concerted effort to engage with the world to become an economic and regional power. With this objective in mind, both countries independently charted their own course based on peaceful coexistence. However, the ever changing geopolitical considerations led to some significant corrective changes in their respective foreign policies. Both countries became independent almost at the same time, India in 1947 and People’s Republic of China in 1949. In the initial years, India’s presence was far more visible in the international arena than China. It was the result of a proactive foreign policy, which crowned India as the leader of the developing nations. It engaged closely with the developed world to act as a bridge for the developing world. In fact, India had good relations with the socialist bloc as well as capitalist western powers. It enjoyed a special status with West Asia and dominating presence in Africa. In almost all multilateral bodies, that came into existence after World War-II, India was one of the founding members, eg., GATT, UN, etc. On the other side, in the initial years China remained isolated due to its internal problems. The first appearance of a Chinese leader before the international community was made at the Bandung Conference. But even after the conference, China’s presence was uneventful in the international arena. During this period, its border disputes with the Soviet Union, traditional differences with Japan, unrest in Vietnam, etc, were some of the distractions for an independent foreign policy. The turnaround came in the 80s, when China’s visibility improved slowly but steadily due to structural reforms. By the late 90’s, China emerged as an economic and military power before the world. By the turn of the century, China became a power to reckon with and its
presence on the globe became more assertive. Sino-Indian relations are still governed by the Panchsheel Agreement, which did not experience any change over time. Presently, the bilateral relations are guided by the five principles of peace, viz, respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, nonaggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, which are also applied to border settlement negotiations. It will be interesting to note how people on both sides view their neighbour’s foreign policy. It is evident from the public perception that economic growth and promoting business abroad accord the highest priority in the foreign policies of both countries. Other strengths of India’s foreign policy as viewed by the Chinese were combating international terrorism, securing adequate supplies of energy, UN peacekeeping responsibilities, promoting peace and cooperation and strengthening UN. Most Indians felt that the strengths of Chinese foreign policy in the order of importance were securing adequate supplies of energy, promoting peace and cooperation, UN peacekeeping responsibilities, strengthening the UN and combating international terrorism. It is interesting to note that the public perception differs on certain aspect of foreign policies of both countries. Chinese accorded combating international terrorism quite high among the strengths of Indian foreign policy. It was largely felt that India was facing the brunt of international terrorism both at its home turf as well as outside. Thus, India’s foreign policy
PD Kaushik is Associate Director of Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies (RGICS).
January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |19|
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Both countries became independent almost at the same time, India in 1947 and People’s Republic of China in 1949. In the initial years, India’s presence was far more visible in the international arena than China. It was the result of a proactive foreign policy, which crowned India as the leader of the developing nations. It engaged closely with the developed world to act as a bridge for the developing world
was more coherent on the issue of combating international terrorism. It is perhaps for the first time that Chinese people have acknowledged that India is a victim of international terrorism. Despite India and China being critically dependent on oil imports, for China, Indians put this issue at a lower priority. This observation can be attributed to the degree of dependency and engagement level (both in terms of exploration, production and imports) of the Chinese government with the rest of the world. In the past, China had aggressively outbid India to gain control over energy supplies from Angola, Kazakhstan, Ecuador and Burma. Likewise, it is interesting to note that Indian perception on the role of China in strengthening the United Nations, or other UN associated responsibilities was ranked as a low priority area. On the other side, Chinese respondents observed that India’s foreign policy accord a high priority to UN and UN associated responsibilities. Most Chinese felt that high priority is accorded because India aspires to be a permanent member of the Security Council. In fact, Indian peacekeeping operations under the aegis of the UN stretch across the globe, perhaps the second largest military contingent after the US.
Various strategic research reports on India and China have been quite critical of the respective foreign policies. Respondents on both sides pointed out different types of chinks in the relations or weakness of the Indian and Chinese foreign policies. It is well known that the border issue is a major thorn in Sino-Indian relations. On the other side, India’s policy towards Tibet and China’s overt and covert assistance to Pakistan act as barriers to normalize relations. By ignoring the official viewpoint, it will be certainly helpful for public policy makers to know how people on both sides look at the weaknesses of the respective foreign policies. It is understandable that the Tibet issue remained as the weakest link of China’s foreign policy in the eyes of Indians, though it is an internal matter for the Chinese. Indian experience of border negotiations and inflexibility of the Chinese had adversely influenced Indian minds, which was identified as another major weakness of China’s foreign policy. Many Indians felt that China had not shown enough commitment in their foreign policy towards concern for international issues, viz the Gulf War, international terrorism, nonproliferation, etc. Besides, other weaknesses
Indian Perception on Weakness of China’s Foreign Policy
Tibet policy Inflexible negotiating agenda Lack of concernon international issues Lack of long-term international goodwill Indifference towards environmental concerns Conflict with Taiwan
Chinese Perception on Weaknesses of India’s Foreign Policy Absence of strong relations with its neighbours Conflict with Pakistan
Lack of concern on international issues Indifference towards environmental concerns Inflexible negotating agenda
include lack of international goodwill, indifference towards environmental concerns and conflict with Taiwan. Conflict with Taiwan was kept at the lowest by Indians because of ignorance or perhaps the conflict with Taiwan may not have any major repercussions on India due to its negligible engagement with Taiwan. However, most Chinese felt that the major weakness was India’s foreign policy towards its neighbours. With Pakistan, it had fought three wars, ethnic strife in Sri Lanka at the behest of India, frequent skirmishes at the IndiaBangladesh border, inconsistent policy towards Nepal, military intervention in Maldives, etc, |20| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
The turnaround came in the 80s, when China’s visibility improved slowly but steadily due to structural reforms. By the late 90’s, China emerged as an economic and military power before the world. By the turn of the century, China became a power to reckon with and its presence on the globe became more assertive
were the telltale of India’s weak foreign policy towards its neighbours. Conflict with Pakistan was ranked second amongst the India’s foreign policy weaknesses. Though India’s official stand on Tibet is quite clear to China, but public perception blamed India for causing unrest in Tibet. Perhaps the Dalai Lama and the existence of the Tibetan government in exile in India have been the reasons for the Chinese public perception. Beside other issues like lack of international concerns and environmental issues, it was a surprise that the Chinese did not feel that India’s foreign policy advocates a rigid negotiating agenda. Chinese rate it as a weakness January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |21|
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People, on both sides of the border, look at each other with pride and respect for their achievements. Public perceptions in China and India are quite homogenous. Both sides feel that the other side has a strong influence on global affairs. In other words, Indians feel China’s influence on global affairs is growing; likewise Chinese feel the same way about India
vis-à-vis their own policy, especially in resolving border disputes. A close look at the Chinese response highlighted considerable homogeneity in terms of occupation, region and age, especially for the first three ranked weaknesses. Tibet issue and conflict with Pakistan as major weaknesses of India’s foreign policy, such feelings were highest in the western region. The under- 18 age group (essentially students) felt that India’s foreign policy pursued an inflexible negotiating agenda in the past, which did not allow peaceful settlement of border-related disputes. On the other side, response from Indians was quite heterogeneous in terms of occupation, region and age grouping. Though the Tibet issue was on the forefront and displayed consistency in overall terms. Contrary to belief, the under-18 age group did not see Tibet as a major weakness, as against the priority for the 65+ age group. But government officials and academicians felt that the major weaknesses of China’s foreign policy were an inflexible negotiating agenda. Businessmen ranked lack of concern on international issues and absence of international goodwill as major weaknesses. Even the distribution of response exhibited inherent regional bias, for instance the eastern region emphatically pointed out inflexible negotiating agenda as the weakness of China’s foreign policy. Conflict with Taiwan remained a low priority area consistently for all categories.
China’s Perception on Indian Influence on Global Affairs 17%
18% 51% Cultural & Political Technological Large Market Relations with major powers
India’s Perception on Chinese Influence on Global Affairs 5%
39% 44% Military Trade Large Market International mediation
Chinese Preception on India’s Influence on Global Affairs 37%
India Perception on China’s Influence on Global Affairs 34%
|22| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
Influence on Global Affairs People, on both sides of the border, look at each other with pride and respect for their achievements. Public perceptions in China and India are quite homogenous. Both sides feel that the other side has a strong influence on global affairs. In other words, Indians feel China’s influence on global affairs is growing; likewise Chinese feel the same way about India. It is evident that citizens of both countries find increasing influence of each other on global affairs, though the reasons they offer may differ. This perception, both in India and China, prevails across all ages, occupations and regions. Indians feel China’s influence on global affairs is due to its manufacturing prowess and trade, whereas most Chinese give the credit to Indian software technology success for its global influence. Few respondents attribute growing influence of India on account of its relations with major powers like the US, the European Union, Russia, Japan, etc. China, USA and India are the top three
ranked countries in the world in terms of active service personnel. But none of the respondents felt that the influence of India and China on global affairs can be attributed to their military might. But a few Indians feel that China’s military might may be a reason for its growing influence in South-east and Far-east Asia, especially the two Koreas, Japan and Taiwan. Undoubtedly, 40 per cent of the world’s consumers reside in India and China, thus the large market is a common reason for the growing influence of India and China in global affairs. Threat Perception It is understandable that the way the media reports to sensationalize the skirmishes on the border, it is bound to escalate the threat perception among citizens on both sides of the border. Besides, ignorance about the ongoing diplomatic initiatives also adds fuel to the fire, viz increased threat perception on account of news report. As a result, a large majority on both sides see each other as a major threat. About 46 per cent Indians view China as a strong threat and 57 per cent Chinese view India as a strong threat. In the light of media reports, it is an
Chinese Preception on India as a Threat 43%
Indian Perception on China as a Threat 54%
INFOCUS | SURVEY | COVER STORY
India’s Influence in the China’s Neighbourhood 18%
China as a Military Threat to India
Indian Perception on the Influence of India-US Relations on China 36%
Chinese Perception on the Influence of India-US Relations on China 25%
expected response. However, a close inspection of the results reveals a completely different picture from the anticipated threat. A large majority in India feels that the Chinese threat is in the form of manufacturing (45%) and trade (26%). It appears that Indian manufacturers have not remained untouched with the growing influence of China in the international market in terms of fierce competition. That India is a threat to China is observed from India’s burgeoning manufacturing sector (27%) and trade (16%). Indian products are threatening Chinese producers in fast moving value-added product areas catering to premium segment, especially fashion garments
A market in India
|24| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
--textiles and leather, engineering goods, gems and jewellery, etc. On the other side, the major threat to China was observed in the form of India’s influence in China’s neighborhood (38%) -- for instance, India’s nuclear prowess, its strained relations with Pakistan, etc. Tibet continues to remain an important issue. Though Tibet is an integral part of China, but Chinese are more wary of the alleged India’s influence on the internal politics of Tibet. On the issue of India’s influence in China’s neighborhood, there is regional homogeneity in the response. By focusing on the 38 per cent response, which affirmed the threat perception, it is evident that this opinion is prevalent in all regions. Almost 17 per cent of Indians feel the military threat from China. A closer look at the response highlighted that the military threat perception was highest among the business and academic communities in India. On a regional basis, the North and the East reported a higher military threat perception than those in the West, Central and South. It is understandable because the North and the East share a common border with China. Frequently reported border skirmishes in the Indian media also play a significant role in influencing the threat perception in the respective regions. China’s close relation with Pakistan is one of the major reasons cited for the likely influence in the neighborhood. A few others also mentioned the political turmoil in Nepal, China’s close relationship with the military regime in Burma, increased FDI flows from China to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, etc. On a pointed question whether China is strategically encircling India to isolate it from the rest of the world, the government response on both sides of the borders strongly refuted this view but media and academicians in India strongly believed in the proposition.
It is imperative to mention that the survey ignored to seek a direct response on India as a military threat to China. However, it was observed that 16 per cent Chinese still viewed India as a military threat to China. It was an unexpected result. However, personal interviews revealed that the recently signed India-US Nuclear Agreement had greatly influenced this public response. One of the respondents held the view that if India becomes a tool of US imperialism, it may then become a military threat to China. India-US Relations & China India-US relation has always remained a central issue for charting an independent and non-aligned foreign policy. Past experience has been a blow hot and blow cold relationship between India and the US. Changes taking place across the globe also pushed these largest democracies closer, like India emerging as a major software power, burgeoning population of migrant Indians in the US, emergence of India as an off-shore ITES hub, etc. In the light of the India-US Nuclear Agreement and the associated controversies, almost 65 per cent respondents in India felt that India-US relations will have a strong influence on Sino-Indian relations. Likewise, 75 per cent Chinese feel that India-US relations will strongly influence Sino-Indian relations. The western media, wary of China’s growth in recent years, also widely accept that closer relations between India and the US is likely to adversely affect India’s relations with China. During the interviews, it was further clarified that closer India-US relations will adversely affect Sino-Indian relations. It is interesting to note that respondents on both sides felt that the closer India gets to the US, the farther it will move away from China. A close look at the Indian response revealed that this opinion was largely expressed by the media and academicians. Respondents from
China had a homogenous view on the issue in terms of occupation, region and age. India & China: Competitors or Partners For almost three decades, India and China did not feel the need to closely engage with each other for economic development. Both countries looked at the western world, especially the US and European Union, for solutions to their developmental problems. Largely, Indians look at China as a competitor in the global market (35%) and Chinese look at India as a partner for mutual benefit (53%). It is heartening to note that if the military threat perception is removed, the overall response from both sides indicate there is a huge potential for
A market in China
January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |25|
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economic cooperation. It needs to be mentioned that an individual’s views impact on the formulation of business strategy. For competitors, the policies and strategy framework is often defensive, which may include a variety of protectionist and safeguard measures. This may experience a complete turnaround, if policies are formulated for partners for mutual gains. Policy for partners is often based on complementing and synergising each others’ strengths and weaknesses.
India’s Perception on China 35%
26% 15% Competitor Military Threat
Indian Perception by Occupation on the Strong Influence of India-US Relations on China
Large Market Partner for mutual benefits
In the light of the India-US Nuclear Agreement and the associated controversies, almost 65 per cent respondents in India felt that India-US relations will have a strong influence on Sino-Indian relations. Likewise, 75 per cent Chinese feel that IndiaUS relations will strongly influence Sino-Indian relations
China’s Perception on India
26% 22% Govt
53% Academic Competitor Military Threat Large Market Partner for mutual benefits
Such views about each other are clearly reflected in their respective policies of engagement and also greatly influence public perception. It is interesting to note the divergence in public opinion on the basis of occupation and region. There is considerable homogeneity in India across all occupations who regard China as a competitor and important neighbour. It is also evident that a large section of the business community view China as a competitor. Government officials largely view China as an important neighbour. In the others category visà-vis other occupations, a major section believes that China is a military threat. The Indian media perceive China as a partner for mutual benefit, which is an interesting finding. On a regional basis, industrially developed regions, especially the West and South India, have pointed out China as a major competitor. The East is wary of frequent skirmishes on the common border between India and China. The Central region mainly due to its location, consider China as an important neighbour. |26| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
Sino-Indian Bilateral Relations Both sides have undertaken various measures to improve Sino-Indian relations, foremost being confidence building measures, regular meetings of the HOS and senior functionaries, etc. But from the public policy angle, the survey attempted to explore public sentiment on how relations can be improved between the two countries. Most Indians feel that the resolution of the border dispute must be given top priority by both countries to improve bilateral relations. On the other side, the Chinese feel that cultivating strong business interests must be taken up at top priority by both governments. Needless to mention both countries consider business interests and resolution of border dispute as priority areas to improve Sino-Indian relations. Undoubtedly, business and border issues cannot
be taken up in isolation, both complement each other and must be taken up on a priority basis by both sides. However, public opinion on both sides did not consider political and military alliance between the two countries as a priority issue for normalizing bilateral relations. Both sides acknowledged that people-to-people contact must also be taken up on priority basis. If one introspects, it is quite evident that the trajectory of engagement between the two countries followed a similar path in the past, except the intensity of engagement was low. Improved people-to-people contact can act as a catalyst to intensify the engagement between India and China. Thus, the public policy to strengthen ties must integrate people-to-people contact with past efforts which centered on business and border. (Views expressed by the writer are his personal views)
January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |27|
INFOCUS | UNSC | REPORT
India’s chair at United Nations Security Council
Room for the sixth in table of five Srikanth Kondapalli
hina’s Premier Wen Jiabao visited New Delhi in December 2010. The visit was watched closely as it is the only country among the “Permanent Five” of the United Nations Security Council which has not explicitly endorsed support to India. All the other four members – Russia, United Kingdom, France, and
recently the United States President Obama– have endorsed India’s candidature for the UNSC seat. The Joint Communiqué issued by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Wen Jiabao on December 16 reiterated the previous statement of China in this regard without explicitly endorsing India’s candidature. Para 17 of the communiqué reiterated that China “understands and supports India’s aspiration to play a greater
|28| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
role in the United Nations, including in the Security Council.” The recent release of Wikileak diplomatic cables from the United States embassy in Beijing indicate also that China would like to go slow on the international “momentum ” for the UNSC reform and had been putting pressure on the US in this regard not to “dilute” the Permanent Five’s hold over the international system. The Chinese implicit position on
the UNSC reform and restructuring is contrary to its explicit position as reflected in its White Paper on the subject. China had stated earlier that it is opposed to the current UN system which favoured the then two superpowers and currently imposes no restrictions on the US. The 2003 US war on Iraq reflected on the inability of the UN system in this regard. Secondly, China believes that the current UN structure does not represent the global realities of distribution of power, social, economic and cultural aspects. Thirdly, China had stated that it is indeed for restructuring the UN system to broaden the geographical and cultural representation and make the UN a more legitimate body as the 1945 realities are different from that of today when a number of rising countries in all continents have come to the fore -- such as Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, Germany, Japan and India. While China had explicitly opposed Japan’s candidature in the UNSC, it had made no explicit support to the
other Group Four members, viz India, Germany and Brazil. However, it had indicated to an implicit support to Germany and Brazil – its major trading and strategic partner respectively -while with the Indian candidature it appears that China is expecting its “pound of flesh” – possibly in the territorial dispute resolution or on the Dalai Lama and Tibet’s future. For instance, under Russian pressure, the India-Russia-China trilateral format had extended implicit support to India in this regard. The June 2005 Vladivostok meeting of the trilateral stated that the UN should be reformed “comprehensively” so as to be “reflective of contemporary global realities and more effective in discharging its functions.” The Harbin meeting in October 2007 stated that these three countries “attach importance to the status of India in international affairs and understand and support India’s aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations.” Subsequently, the 2008 meeting at Yekaterinburg reiterated this position that the UN should play a central role in resolving international issues and that there is a need for UNSC reform. The Bangalore meeting in October 2009 stated that the three countries “attach importance to the status of India in international affairs, and understand and support India’s aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations.” However, during Foreign Minister SM Krishna’s visit to Beijing in April 2010 there was not much progress on the Indian membership of the UN Security Council, as China only reiterated its older positions on “greater role” for India in such institutions. Later, during President Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s visit to China from May 26 to 31, 2010, China had not unveiled any new position in this regard, while the Indian side thought that the Chinese position in this regard is “evolving.” Subsequent high level meetings between the two countries – Prime Minister’s meeting
at Hanoi as a part of the 5th East Asian Summit meeting or the India-RussiaChina trilateral meeting at Wuhan or the 4th Strategic Dialogue at the foreign secretary level or the 14th Special Representative meeting hardly yielded any progress in this regard. This is in contrast to the consistent Indian support to China at the United Nations right from its inception in 1945. Independent India under the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, when alerted about the UNSC seat to India, suggested that as the largest country in Asia and with hundreds of millions of people, China should be given their due at the United Nations first, including the permanent seat with veto power. In fact, it was due to the internal strife and civil war between the nationalists and the communists from the 1940s that the issue of China’s representation at the UN became a contentious point between these two
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrive for the agreements signing ceremony at Hyderabad House in New Delhi
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groups. The Republic of China (RoC), which eventually took the seat at the UNSC from 1945 till it was replaced by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1971, argued for the one China principle. India’s support to the PRC was crucial throughout this period, even during the conflict of 1962 when both Indian and the Chinese militaries clashed on the border. In the last few years, there indeed was some momentum for the reform of the UNSC. It started with the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s proposals for reform, followed by the then US Secretary of State Condoleezza External Affairs Minister SM Krishna (Centre) with Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi (Left) and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at a press conference after the ninth trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) in Bangalore.
Rice’s support to a country which is democratic country, with rising economic clout, strategically located and the like. Annan had suggested that the reform of the UN should take place in two possible scenarios, viz reform of the UNSC with expansion of either the permanent membership (without veto power) or alternately the nonpermanent category of membership. However, it needs to be pointed out
This is in contrast to the consistent Indian support to China at the United Nations right from its inception in 1945
that none of these plans took off as no consensus emerged at the international scene on this issue. While the US had indicated support to Japan, Obama’s visit to Delhi in November 2010 indicated to further expansion in the US’s choices. In the interim, nevertheless, the aspirants have been making certain active preparations and canvassing for the reform of the UNSC. Firstly, during the visit of the Japanese foreign minister recently to Delhi, both countries have initiated coordination measures in Africa -- as that continent has more than 50 member states and whose support would be decisive in the UNSC reform – as the Chinese themselves were to realize in the late 1960s after Premier Zhou Enlai’s African safari. Indeed, African states’ increasing support to the PRC finally tilted the balance against the RoC on Taiwan. Secondly, President Pratibha Patil addresses the media on board a special aircraft on her way to China. The President was on a six-day visit to China.
after the US President Obama’s visit to Delhi, both countries are now actively coordinating their efforts in Africa and other continents. Thirdly, as a matter of reality, the aspirants should be able to garner support from at least two-third members of the General Assembly of the UN. A resolution in this regard by the General Assembly either in favour of reform and restructuring of the UN or for specific countries’ candidature as permanent members could be binding on all – including the current P-5 members –for moving in this direction. For this, the aspirants need to play an active diplomatic role in eliciting the General Assembly members. Fourthly, if we look at the privileges of the current permanent five, it becomes clear that the UNSC seat with veto power brings in its stride a lot of clout for the member states – in the international diplomatic, political, financial and other fields. Indeed, China today, with its permanent seat at the UNSC had become assertive on not only its perceived minimalist foreign policy goals but also in its path
UNSC reform indeed could be difficult and intractable, if not insurmountable. Given the rising aspirations of several countries and redundancy of the 1945 system to become a great power in the 21st century. China utilized veto power seven times so far in the UNSC since the organization came into being from 1945 – as against the total of 261 times the exercise of veto power by all the P5 so far. However, due to the civil war between the communists and the nationalists, the latter held sway at the UN till 1971, when the PRC replaced the nationalist-led RoC. While RoC exercised the first veto in 1955 to block Mongolian membership, PRC utilized veto power six times – firstly against Bangladesh membership in 1972 after its liberation from Pakistan in 1971. China, during this time supported
Pakistan and had exercised considerable pressure on India on the prisoners of war issue. Later, China exercised the veto at this forum to send a signal against Taiwan – as in the cases of Guatemala and Macedonia. Recently, in 2007 and 2008, China indicated that it is now confident to exercise its international clout and protect its close partners such as Myanmar and Zimbabwe. When the “saffron revolution” took place in Myanmar by Buddhist monks against the autocratic rule of the military junta, China (along with Russia) opposed the US resolution criticizing human rights violations. Likewise was the case with Zimbabwe. It appears that China is also likely to use veto power in the case of the Sudan-Darfur crisis in the future. In this case, China considers that Beijing-backed Khartoum regime is not involved in genocide. This marks a change in the Chinese position gearing towards maximalist demands of striving for allies and friends in the international system. From the above, it can be deduced that the UNSC reform indeed could be difficult and intractable, if not insurmountable. Given the rising aspirations of several countries and redundancy of the 1945 system, it can be argued that the momentum for UNSC reform will accelerate further in the future making apparent whether Beijing will stick to its stated principle of UNSC reform or whether in a real politick sense demand its pound of flesh from New Delhi. It is also safe to predict that even if New Delhi is finally endowed with the UNSC permanent seat its trajectory may not be radically different from that of Beijing so far– implying that India could possibly use the newly acquired clout to protect its core sovereignty issues, specifically on Kashmir.
Srikanth Kondapalli is Professor in Chinese Studies at JNU
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Accidental tourists |32| India-China Chronicle ď‚§ January-February 2011
Thatâ€™s what these two great nations seem to get as travellers from either country these days, and yet there have been a great number of travellers and timeless accounts in books thousand years ago. There is an urgent need to revive the interest and thus give tourism between the two countries a fresh fillip. India-China Chronicle |33|
INFOCUS | TRAVEL&TOURISM | SPECIAL REPORT
ourney to the West is the name of a popular Chinese classic, an imaginative rendering of the travels of the Buddhist monk and scholar Xuan Zang. In the 7th century AD, he journeyed from China across Central Asia to India, and spent 14 years travelling in our country before returning with a vast collection of Buddhist manuscripts. But Xuan Zang’s epic journey was itself in continuation of a long tradition. For a thousand years before him, pilgrims, traders, scholars and adventurers had trodden the many trade routes between India and China collectively known today as the ‘Silk Road’. A pilgrimage to India –‘the Western Paradise’- was the ultimate dream for many Chinese. Indian sculptors, painters, artists, musicians, astronomers, mathematicians and scholars were to be found in every city along the Silk Road, and had an honoured place in Xian, the then capital of Imperial China. Even more remarkably, these two civilizations coexisted peacefully for nearly three millennia without any significant period or event of armed conflict. Such a record between neighbouring countries must be unprecedented in world history.
How is all this relevant today? The word ‘tourist’ was unknown in the days of those Silk Road travelers. But in today’s terminology, the travels of those merchants, yogis, pilgrims, scholars, craftsmen, charlatans and others who frequented these routes would fit the definition of tourism. They travelled ‘with a purpose’, well beyond their ‘local areas’, and certainly more than ‘overnight’—in fact, for months if not years. Perhaps the first really largescale tourism in recorded history was between India and China. Against this glorious historical canvas, where is India-China tourism today? The story is pathetic. In 2010, of India’s 5 million international arrivals, less than 100,000 were from China. And of China’s 42.75 million foreign (non-ethnic and excluding Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) visitors in that year, about 500,000 were Indian, and that includes non-resident Indians. These figures look even more marginal when set in the context of the burgeoning growth of the outbound travel business in both countries – over 20% per year through the two decades since 1990. China and India also generate healthy outbound volumes: (40 million and 12 million travellers per year respectively from each country). The World Travel and Tourism Council estimate that the Asia-Pacific region will remain the growth engine for world tourism for the next 10 years. In the interests of economics, many leisure travellers have already switched from long-haul to short and mediumhaul destinations. In the last few years, Chinese travellers have focused on Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Indians too have taken advantage of the attractive tourist packages available for travel to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and the South-East Asian region. Carriers in Asia have increased their reach and frequencies, notably to India and Australia. Domestic tourism and intraregional tourism are more prominent in Chinese are great travellers but very few seeem to make it to India.
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the consumer mind-space right now. At the same time, both countries have also developed a substantial segment of high-value leisure travellers who enjoy exotic and new destinations. For the Chinese, these may be in unusual destinations in Europe or the Pacific, for Indians, in Australasia and adventure destinations worldwide. In this broader scenario, however, IndiaChina bilateral travel continues to languish, at levels certainly not befitting two giant, fast-growing, neighbouring Asian economies. The irony is that the potential for outbound travel from both these giant Asian countries is enormous. The World Tourism Organization forecasts that, by the year 2020, China should account for an outbound volume of
India and China need to tap into each other’s huge tourism markets.
Even more remarkably, these two civilizations coexisted peacefully for nearly three millennia without any significant period or event of armed conflict. Such a record between neighbouring countries must be unprecedented in world history.
100 million travellers, the largest in the world. India could be over 50 million by that time. Moreover, after joining the World Trade Organization, China has loosened its restrictions on its outbound travellers. In India, the current rules on foreign exchange are liberal enough to deter only the most extravagant and wildly opulent travel. This combination of large outbound volumes together with rising purchasing power constitutes a powerful engine for tourism generation, and so it is not surprising that many countries are competing to seize a piece of these lucrative pies. Australia, Switzerland, UK, Austria,
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INFOCUS | TRAVEL&TOURISM | SPECIAL REPORT
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Mauritius, Maldives and Sri Lanka are actively pursuing the Indian tourist. So are the countries of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and even individual provinces of European nations such as Italy and France. Imaginative approaches are in plenty. Britain, Switzerland and New Zealand are targeting Bollywood to shoot films in locales in their countries. Strong advertising and attractive packages lure the Indian traveller to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand. The countries of the Indo-Chinese peninsula, along with Thailand have also created the Greater Mekong tourism packages aimed at the Chinese and East Asian markets. Korea, and more recently, Mongolia and Russia, have actively targeted the Chinese traveller. With this background, it is India’s tourism potential is great but we need to tap the Chinese market.
imperative that for their mutual benefit, India and China should immediately engage each other intensively to increase tourism between the two countries. Even if either country got only 5% of the others’ outbound market, it would mean 2 million additional tourists for India, and 0.5 million for China. For India, this implies a foreign exchange inflow of over 4 billion US dollars and at least 200,000 additional jobs. Example, if one Jumbo Jet lands daily with 400 persons as tourists, revenue of US$ 150 million is generated over the year, even assuming a modest expenditure of US$ 1000 per stay over a 7-day visit. The time now is propitious. Over the last few years, flight frequencies between the two countries have increased as indeed the destinations connected. Business and delegation travel has picked up very sharply in the wake of booming trade and commerce, but to tap the tourism goldmine, we
must act quickly on a few fronts. First of all, we must increase the awareness of India in China. At present, India figures quite marginally in the Chinese psyche. Yes, India does occupy a special place as the land of the Buddha, especially amongst the older generation. Indian films have made a visible mark; there is scarcely a taxi driver from Xian to Xinjiang who cannot hum the words of Awaara Hoon. The 1962 conflict does not seem to bother people in general and survives only as a residual political issue. There is recognition and respect for India as an IT power, and for its relatively strong English-language base. But all this does not yet translate into transforming India into a holiday destination for the Chinese. Awareness of India should be supported through strong and imaginative measures. It is no longer sufficient just to open the quintessential government of India tourism office in
Beijing. Rather, we should create a 21st century “House of India in China” in Beijing and other key Chinese cities through a cooperative venture involving the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, representative organizations of India’s tourism industry, aviation and travel companies interested in China, the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and NASSCOM. There should be a yearlong calendar of events and programmes projecting different aspects of India. Leading film personalities should be called upon to tour the provinces of China. Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai could be our best ambassadors! Print and electronic media must be targeted to cover the various facets of India, with Indian fabrics, fashion, and cuisine being in full display. Above all, we should launch an ambitious youth exchange programme to create a new generation dedicated to friendship and peace, and the rediscovery of each
others’civilizations. Secondly, we should create travel packages for the Chinese traveller, with care and attention to language, information and cuisine. Let us try novel approaches. Why not holiday offers coupled with English-language summer schools for Chinese students? What about exchange programmes where teachers can teach Indians Chinese and Chinese English? Why not open the historic trans-Himalayan land routes from Sikkim and Ladakh, Tibet and Xinjiang to adventure and eco-tourism? How about shooting Indian films in China and a sequel of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon shot in India? Thirdly, let us look afresh at tourism circuits. Can we create a transnational ‘Grand Buddhist Tour’ starting from Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, to take in the hallowed Buddhist sites of Northern India and Nepal, traverse the great monasteries of Tibet, terminating in Mongolia at the magnificent Erdene Zuu monastery built on the ruins of ancient Karakorum? What about direct charters into Jaipur and Kochi and creating an Indian ‘fair of nationalities’ a la Dilli Haat in both cities? Can we capitalize upon the reopening of Nalanda University to
Chinese fishing nets off the coast of Cochin in north Kerala.
create a great upsurge of Asian student interest in India, as was the case over two millennia ago? Tourism on a large scale between India and China will create benefits for people that go well beyond the economic dimension, though that in itself is substantial. It will be a massive move for peace and stability, in a world that stands perilously close to greater conflict and violence. And a befitting revival of the Silk Road-- so that the trails blazed by Xuan Zang, Fa Xian, Kumarajiva and Bodhidharma may be followed by citizens of today’s world recreating these two ancient civilizations for their fulfillment, profit and pleasure.
Ravi Bhoothalingam is Chairman and Founder, Manas Advisory; an independent director and consultant, he travels extensively in China, Mongolia and High Asia to promote cultural and business ties and is Fellow, Royal Geographical Society, London.
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Talking in Tones
he great linguistic divide in China has been of a tremendous interest to me. Many people believe that Chinese is a language spoken in China. To an extent, it is true but there is also a different aspect to it – it changes from province to province. Apart from the minority languages, there are over hundred different dialects that the Chinese have such as standard Chinese i.e. Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Hakka and others. In fact it’s a bit like India. While Hindi may be the umbrella in the north, under it hundreds of regional languages and local dialects bloom. Even though a majority of the major languages may have had its root in Sanskrit, every region has its distinct languages within which thrive many dialects. But that’s where the comparison ends as unlike Indian languages the Chinese is the same for all dialects, whereas in India every language, such as Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam etc, has its own script.
In China, some dialects resemble the parent language more than the others. For example, in the local dialect of Shanghai (Shanghainese as they call it), ‘Hello’ is what I would probably represent as ‘nong hou’ which is very similar to ‘ni hao’ of mandarin and ‘ngi hao’ in Hakka. But the same ‘Hello’ can sound very different in Cantonese, the second most popular dialect after Mandarin, as ‘neih hou’, in Fuzhou dialect as ‘nu ho’ and ‘non ho’ in Wu dialect. Similarly ‘Goodbye’ is ‘zaijian’ in Mandarin and ‘zoikien’ in Hakka dialect, whereas it sounds completely different as ‘tzei wei’ in the Wu dialect – Its ‘cai gieng’ in Fuzhou dialect, ‘joi gin’ in Cantonese. A non native Chinese speaker will not even realize that the conversation is heading to an end. Well, these are only a few greetings in local dialects and one need to deal with them if you travel from place to place
in China but the real problem crops up when you can speak Chinese and yet miss or pronounce an inaccurate tone. For a native Chinese speaker too, specifically a Cantonese speaker, it is easier to learn the Taiwanese pronunciation because they have more contact with the southern standard dominated by Taiwanese pronunciation. Mandarin has five tones: high, rising, dipping, falling and neutral which makes it tough for a non Chinese speaker, whereas, Cantonese has about nine tones which adds to further confusion. It is any day easier for a foreigner to learn Mandarin than Cantonese, specifically for English speakers. By way of adding a little spice to the subject, let me explain that since Chinese is a tonal language, you can convey different meanings by pronouncing the same sound differently (in different tones). For example, if you are attempting to say ‘can I ask’ (in the sense of asking a question), the word for ‘ask’ in Chinese is ‘wen’ in falling tone. If you pronounce ‘wen’ in rising tone instead of falling tone, it can mean ‘can I kiss’ (you is obvious). It was in Shanghai in fact when a friend had a narrow shave with a Chinese woman who was selling dumplings on the street. Wanting to buy a bowl of dumplings and also try out his newly-learnt Chinese his experiment went awfully wrong. Instead of asking ‘How much for a bowl of dumplings’ (yi wan shuijiao duo shao qian?), his wrong tones put forth something far from the price of dumplings and something that sounded like ‘How much for a night’. Surely he did not get his bowl of dumplings. These are a few notes of caution to demonstrate how crucial it is to be accurate in pronunciation to be a fluent Chinese speaker. Apart from tones, pronunciation can also be tricky. For the first few months, people cope with different sounds and pronunciation; even then they kind of mix it up. An example will explain this better, ‘fan’ is ‘food’ in Chinese, so when you want to say ‘I want to have some food’, you have
to make sure you say ‘wo yao chi fan’, because ‘fen’ which is a closer sound to ‘fan’ means ‘stool’. This difficulty can be overcome by regular practice and eventually you can sound as perfect as a native Chinese. Chinese has a large vocabulary but one can read almost any non-technical book or newspaper if one knows about 8000 Chinese characters without much difficulty. If there’s one word comprising three characters and you know only two, you can draw a meaning of the other by understanding the context in which it is being talked about. Also, Chinese language has no sense of ‘time’ and it becomes extremely difficult to reflect present and future tense, specifically, because both are written the same way. Having overcome all this, Chinese language learners often feel that sense of achievement and confidence that they can tackle any problem in the world if they have tackled Chinese. Chinese is easily going to be the next dominating global language like English has been so far. However, it will never replace English. In the coming years, people across the globe will want to learn more and more about China, as a country, as an economy, as a culture. Therefore Chinese language too will gain popularity. So learn Chinese and be ahead of the game.
MANJU HARA is a Research Scholar at Jawahar Lal Nehru University.
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INFOCUS | LOOK EAST | REPORT
Kolkata Kunming The time is right for some constructive action and not just annual summits. Shastri Ramachandaran
he Forum of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) reaffirmed its resolve to unflaggingly pursue enhanced cooperation with particular focus on regional connectivity. The resolve was evident in presentations made at the Forum’s 9th meeting in Kunming from January 17-19. The two-day meeting was marked
by a realistic assessment of the progress achieved so far in regional economic cooperation and a forthright setting out of objectives for both the near future and the long term. In their joint statement released at the conclusion of the Forum’s proceedings, leaders of the four delegations resolved to focus on improved regional connectivity and hasten the establishment of the Kunming-Mandalay-Dhaka-Kolkata economic corridor. The Forum declared support for
the setting up of a business council, comprising representatives of the four countries, which would hold periodic exchanges and meetings for intensified cross-border trade and business. At the Kunming session, the Forum of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar on Regional Economic Cooperation was renamed as “Bangladesh China India and Myanmar Regional Cooperation Forum.” The change of nomenclature, however, is not such as to make it more catchy or enable easier
recall – it remains long-winded and is yet to assume an abbreviated form that resonates like SAARC or ASEAN. Such a branding exercise is important for the Forum to acquire more visibility and greater currency in the four countries, as the label is important for the vehicle to be attractive. Apart from this minor word-play failing to click, at its 9th round, the BCIM Forum – launched in 1999 as the Kunming Initiative – agreed to work on a multi-track process. In fact, the theme of the 9th Forum was Multi-track Approach, given the indispensability of Track I (involving governments) for coordination and the importance of Track II consisting of civil society institutions, the private sector and NGOs. Yunnan Province Governor Qin Guangrong in his welcome address reviewed the record of progress so far highlighting some of the remarkable achievements. He pointed to the enhanced trade and commercial
cooperation, cultural exchanges, series of documents and memoranda signed by the four parties, the setting up of a coordinating office in Kunming in 2005, the Kolkata2Kunming mechanism, increasing interactions between the four governments, scholars, enterprises, and more people-to-people processes as notable outcomes. Trade among the four parties has grown rapidly – at an annual rate of 25 per cent, which is 3.5 times of what it was five years ago. Looking ahead, Mr Qin said that strategic opportunity was being ushered in for cooperation and development. On January 1, 2010, the first phase of China-ASEAN FTA and India-ASEAN FTA Goods Agreement came into effect. China has adopted a new round of West Development strategy, which intensifies the opening up of border areas in Yunnan. Yunnan is to be developed as a gateway to the Southwest to enable more effective cooperation with Southeast Asia and South Asia.
He advanced four suggestions for deepening and upgrading the cooperation. Of these the most important is for facilitating transport connectivity. He sought a consensus on a land route linking Yunnan with Myanmar towards Bangladesh and India that would make Yunnan a passageway linking China with Southeast Asia and South Asia. The Indian delegation endorsed the expectation that “we can move forward to establish the Kunming-MandalayDhaka-Kolkata Corridor as a concrete demonstration of improved connectivity and vibrant expression of regional cooperation in many planes.” The head of the Indian delegation, Ambassador Eric Gonsalves was confident that the 9th Forum would mark a new beginning in the level and speed of cooperation across the BCIM region. He recalled that the last two rounds had focused on the relevant areas of cooperation, the difficulties faced and the need to prepare projects with detailed plans for implementation.
“We should now seek to maximize the joint utilization of resources and expertise from within the region to optimize the final outcome,” Mr Gonsalves said. All four participants, he said, have demonstrated their desire to undertake development programmes more effectively. The Forum deliberations, he said, have made it clear that connectivity is a fundamental need. He pointed out that connectivity has more than one dimension. “It is also necessary to augment air linkages, port and inland water transport and telecommunication capacities, too, if the expectations for trade tourism and people to people exchanges are to grow as everyone desires”. The next meeting is to be held in India in 2012. In their opening statements, the heads of the Indian and Chinese delegation presented a concise and matter-of-fact summary of the situation so far, the expectations raised by BCIM, the projects under way and what lies ahead. They also recognized the gaps that remain to be addressed by the Forum and the four participating countries. Implied in Forum’s expressed desire to take up projects and programmes is also an admission of what has not been accomplished on schedule; and, of themes and activities that are yet to find a place in the BCIM scheme to make regional cooperation more visible and felt with a view to engaging larger and diverse sections of people in the respective countries. One such proposal is the Car Rally,
Yunnan is to be developed as a gateway to the Southwest to enable more effective cooperation with Southeast Asia and South Asia which has been looked forward to since it was first announced in 2006 to be held in November 2007, but has been put off since then. At the recent meeting, it was again taken up; and, once again, everyone hoped that arrangements could be finalized for holding the cross-national Car Rally to coincide with the next meeting of the BCIM in India. The overland Car Rally, it is felt, would attract great attention, especially among the younger generation. Besides, it could spur other ‘sporty’ activities, such as a cruise and/or bicycle rally to emphasise the cooperative and collaborative spirit of the Forum. Although India was well represented with Professors KC Sivaramakrishnan, Mahendra P Lama, Binoda Kumar Mishra, Nimmi Kurian and Sanjoy Hazarika, and Indian Consul-General in Guangzhou Mr Indra Mani Pandey included in the delegation headed by Mr Gonsalves, a notable absentee was Ms Patricia Uberoi. She was unable to attend the 9th meeting despite being involved in the preparations for it.
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Prof Uberoi, who is Honorary Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi (one of the four focal points of the BCIM process), has drawn attention, on more than one occasion, to the need for inclusion of specific themes for intensified cooperation among BCIM countries. Her presentations on issues relating to scientific, educational, cultural, academic and social exchanges have highlighted inter-related themes to be taken up for enhanced visibility of the BCIM as a regional initiative. She has been emphasizing the need for enhanced cooperation beyond the purely economic realm, especially in fields connected with human and social development. From student and youth exchanges to academic seminars, joint research initiatives and publications, she has identified various activities that call for an early and productive start. It is high time that some of these suggestions are taken up and fleshed out with constructive inputs so that regional cooperation is manifest in small and different ways right through the year in the form of various events and not only as summitry once in 12 months.
Shastri Ramachandaran writes and broadcasts on national and foreign affairs. He’s worked as a journalist in leading newspapers in India and China.
INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | ENERGY
Effective Renewable Energy Policy
Bottom-up, not top down If India has to emerge as global leader in clean energy without compromising its development needs then it has to formulate a renewable energy law.
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nergy security, inflating economy, employment generation, environmental concerns and rising population are few trends that are common between India and China. In order to address these trends there is a need for effective policy measures that provide solution to these emergent issues in an integrated and sustainable manner. Among the crucial challenges that both the countries face today, lowering emissions and providing energy security without compromising the development needs remains the major challenge for both countries. The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook, 2007 noted the crucial role that India and China would play in meeting the world’s energy challenges. The IEA noted that the next ten years will be crucial, as the pace of expansion in energy-supply infrastructure is expected to be particularly rapid. The report concludes that China’s and India’s energy challenges will thus be the world’s energy challenges and call for collective responses. Renewable energy plays a key role in this scenario for both the countries. There is thus need for an effective Renewable Energy Framework to take it to a stage where it is able to substitute energy harnessed from conventional sources. The policy initiatives on renewable energy in India and China are at different phases of maturity. While China has a more dedicated legal and policy framework, India has been trying to promote renewable energy through long and short term polices. So far, almost all policy initiatives on renewable energy in India are being undertaken in a centralized manner where the Ministry of Power (note that the nodal authority for RE development and promotion at the centre in India is the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) with its regulatory body, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has the central role. There has been no involvement of civil society in the policy formulation process for renewable energy in India.
State and local level authorities are also least aware about the developments happening on the energy front. In this scenario, it is feared that with this low level of sensitization at the local level (read consumer level-where these programmes will be ultimately implemented) the policies are likely to be deferred without the community’s acceptance of choice of energy alternatives. The manner in which the National Solar Mission is being carried out is a case in point. Among the most recent policy initiatives on renewable energy in India, the National Solar Mission (the
development in the country. Phase I (2009-2012) aims at producing solar generation capacity of 1,000 to 1,500 MW. Phase-II (2012-2017) targets production capacity of 6,000-7,000 MW and Phase III would boost capacity to 20,000 MW. At any rate the first phase envisions a quantum leap and is considered to be the most important phase as it aims to achieve various objectives including rapid scaling up of domestic solar equipment manufacturing, consolidation and expansion of ongoing projects for various applications and promotion of local manufacturing capacity and
Mission) assumes special significance due to its potential to foster clean energy driven economy and reduce Green House Gas emissions (GHGs). It is realized that the Mission sub assumes all other policy initiatives on solar energy in India. Undoubtedly, the Mission reflects India’s energy planning, strategy and India’s institutional preparedness on energy governance. The Mission identifies three important phases of solar energy
establishment of solar technology parks or Solar Ultra Mega Power Plants (UMPP). More importantly mandatory objectives to be implemented in Phase-I of the Mission include deployment of solar rooftops (panels) in all government buildings, public sector undertakings, commercial and industrial establishments; installations of solar generation facility at all thermal power plants and use of vacant land in existing power plants for installation of solar panels. There is also a proposition
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INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | ENERGY
for mandatory installation of solar water heating systems in all privately owned buildings if the minimum plot area is 500 sqm. The total area to be covered with solar panels is 40 million m2 excluding the land required for setting up solar manufacturing units for scaling up domestic manufacturing of equipments in the country. On environmental aspect, the Mission envisages that there is “zero” environmental impact of solar energy development in the country. The Mission seeks to achieve these objectives through a centralized institutional framework created under the Mission. The institutional framework under the Mission consists of an autonomous Solar Energy Authority (which would also be the Mission Secretariat to be headed by a Mission Director with the rank of
an Additional Secretary) embedded within the existing structure of MNRE has been identified as the body responsible for overall implementation of the Mission. The Authority (Mission Secretariat) is deemed responsible for day to day functioning and also achieving the goals laid out in a time bound manner. The Mission Secretariat would have Joint Secretary, Scientist, G level officers including other scientists, experts and consultants. The Mission Steering Group consisting of representatives from all relevant ministries and chaired by the Minister for MNRE has been made fully empowered to approve various schemes, projects, policies and the related financial norms for all schemes covered under the National Solar Mission and to authorize any modifications, deviations in the norms on ongoing schemes. For the periodical review of the projects and progress of Mission implementation, a Mission Executive Committee chaired by Minister MNRE has been identified. An empowered Solar Research Council headed by an eminent scientist will advise the Mission on all R&D, technology and capacity building related matters. In addition, the Industry Advisory Council will advise the Mission on all matters relating to industrial development, technology transfer, absorption, joint ventures, incentives and investment related matters. Very clearly, India’s flagship Mission on solar Energy has a top down policy approach with very unclear objectives such as “to make India a leader in solar energy globally,” a number of assumptions such as “zero environmental cost of solar energy development,” number of contingent targets such as targets set for Phase II and III of the Mission are dependent on the targets of Phase-I. The Mission will be made operational by central level agencies with no involvement of local people or local level authorities. This is not the case with Solar Mission alone. As stated earlier, almost Street light by Solar energy in Mumbai
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all policy initiatives on renewable energy have no involvement of state, district or local authorities in the policy formulation process. Therefore, India’s renewable energy policies are not only in contrast with policies elsewhere where renewable are doing better but are also depicts a shift from the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1994 that involves municipalities and urban local bodies in the developmental planning and process. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 has also not been borne in the RE policy formulation process. As per this Act village level institutions (Gram Sabha and Panchayat) assumes crucial role in the development planning and energy choice for the local area. While there is a legal mandate for bottom up policy formulation, lessons can also be learned from China. The country follows a multi-tier policy formulation process where local governments are also clued in the policy formulation process. In China, policies on renewable (solar) energy development fall into three categories. China’s central government establishes the first two levels of policy. Local governments, including provincial, munici¬pal, and county governments, establish the third level of policy with overall direction from the central government. China’s first-level policies provide general direction and guidance, and include speeches of state leaders about development of renewable energy and the Chinese government’s standpoint on the global environment. Secondlevel policies specify goals/objectives and developments plans, and focus on rural electrification, renewable energy-based generation technologies and fuel wood. These policies attempt to standardize the directions, focal points, and objectives of renewable energy development from different viewpoints. Third-level policies consist of practical and specific incentives and managerial guidelines. These outline specific supporting measures for developing and using renewable energy. These third-level government policies provide crucial support to help develop renewable energy in its early growth stages. In order to be advised
on trade related matters, the Chinese government seeks advice from its State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC). Thus, the Chinese model of renewable energy governance showcases a good example of involvement of functionaries at all tiers of governance thus ensuring a uniform level of information, awareness and sensitization which is crucial for the implementation of renewable energy policies and programmes. China also has a dedicated Renewable Energy Law to support its renewable energy initiatives, which India has not been able to achieve so far. China’s Renewable Energy Law was endorsed by the Chinese Government on 28 February 2006 and came into effect at the start of 2007. The stated objective of the law is “to promote the development and utilization of renewable energy, improve the energy structure, diversify energy supplies, safeguard energy security, protect the environment, and realize the sustainable development of the economy and society.” According to the law, renewable energy includes hydroelectricity, wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy and marine energy, all of which need to be taken into consideration in state and local development plans. Authorities of the State Council are entrusted with organizing and coordinating national surveys and management of renewable energy sources. The Council also has to set medium and long term targets for development and utilization of renewable energy. Based on these targets the council will develop a national renewable energy development and utilization plan. The Chinese government has listed research and development and utilization of renewable energy as the preferential area for hi-tech industrial development in their national programme. It further allocates funding for research and development to reduce costs of renewable energy plants, improve quality of renewable energy products and promote technical advancements in the development and use of renewable energy. The law requires power grid operators to enter into grid connection
agreements and provide gridconnection to renewable energy power producers and also purchase power from registered renewable energy producers. The law also offers financial incentives, such as a national fund to foster renewable energy development, discounted lending and tax preferences for renewable energy projects. Other details in the law relate to the purchase and use of electricity from solar photovoltaics and solar water heating as well as renewable energy fuels. Finally, the law includes specific penalties for non-compliance with the law. The grid’s buying price for renewable energy is set by the National Development and Reform Commission, a regulatory department of the State Council based on the principle of “being beneficial to the development and utilization of renewable energy and being economic and reasonable” with timely adjustment in the buying price as is necessary. The cost of purchasing this power will be spread across all customers on the grid. The law is expected to foster use of renewable energy up to 10% by the year 2020. Thus far, India’s stride towards a clean energy future has been carried in a programmatic manner, which
China Begins Largest Solar Thermal Project EMS Systems
undergo a series of implementation and institutional challenges in a small time frame. As the programmes do not involve different tiers of government institutions and do not seek view of civil society, they are likely to be defeated in their purpose. Without the law, it’s difficult to meet targets and carryout the regulatory functions in a streamlined manner. Chinese model gives a case where policies have to be formulated in a more decentralized manner. Above all, need for a renewable energy law is quintessential if India has to emerge as global leader in clean energy without compromising its development needs.
Shawahiq is an Advocate in the Supreme Court and is part of the team drafting the Renewable Energy Law
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INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | CULTURE
The Bard in Beijing If one day the cultural relationship between our two countries can reach the same extent as in the glorious days when Buddhism entered China, let us not forget Gurudev, for he was the pioneer and the very symbol of this revival of international cultural collaboration. Sampson C Shen
abindranath came to China at the invitation of the Lecturer’s Association of Peiping, which was organized by various universities and colleges in that city, with the late Prof Liang Chi-Chao as its president. Starting from that ancient city, he toured all the big cities in China to the extreme south, and wherever he went, he was cordially welcomed and anxiously asked to deliver speeches on Indian culture and civilization. During this visit, he negotiated with Chinese cultural leaders on exchange of scholars and professors. According to the plan mapped out at that time Pandit Vidhushekhara Shastri and another scholar of Santiniketan were to be sent to Peiping to teach Sanskrit and to study the Chinese language. On the other hand, Liang Chi-chao and some others were to go to Santiniketan to help the institution in Chinese studies and to study Sanskrit. A lump sum of
Rs 20,000 had been donated by Seth JK Birla to the Visva-Bharati to build a special guest house for the coming Chinese scholars. But due to the instability of the political situation in China, the scheme was unfortunately foiled. But his visit was not in vain. He made a deep impression upon the Chinese mind. He loved China and was loved by the Chinese. Since then, almost all of his works in English have been translated into Chinese, one after another. He came to China just when the latter was beginning her Renaissance and his visit certainly gave a great impetus to this new movement. His poems of “Stray Birds” and “The Crescent Moon” have created new styles of prosody in the new Chinese poetry. A Crescent Moon Society (for poetry) and a Crescent Moon magazine were started immediately after this event by the late Mr Hsu Chih-mo and Dr Hu Shih. Dr Hu was later hailed by some Americans as the counterpart of Rabindranath in China. “As for the Poet’s ideal and hope
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to unite Asiatic cultures and to revive the Indian and Chinese cultural relationship,” a Chinese professor once said, “all of our Chinese scholars have the sincerest sympathy with him and our leading scholars and leaders have also cherished for long the same idea and are willing to co-strive for the common goal with joint endeavors. Now is the time for India and China to resume and strengthen their cultural relationship.” Actually, Tagore had been given a Chinese name, ‘Chu Cheng-tan” when he was in China. After that, he became an ardent lover of China and understood China better than any foreigner of that time. Prof YS Tan, who was teaching at Santiniketan remarked: “I found in the modern world two great savants who knew China and her people and culture best: one was Gurudeva, another is Bertrand Russell. But, after all, Russell is a Westerner and Gurudeva is an Easterner. A Westerner’s comprehension of an old eastern country like China and her
Rabindranath Tagore ( Chu Cheng-tan ) January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |49|
people and culture anyhow cannot be so deep, so intense, real and genuine as that of an Easterner.” How true this statement is needs hardly to be verified by the following words with which Tagore expressed his profound understanding of the Chinese culture: “Can anything be more worthy of being cherished than the beautiful spirit of Chinese culture, that has made them love the things of this earth, clothe them with tender grace without turning them materialistic? They have
instinctively grasped the secret of the rhythm of things – not the secret of power that is in science, but the secret of expression. This is a great gift, for God alone knows this secret. I envy them this gift and wish our people could share it with them”. Then the Sino-Indian Cultural Society came into existence in Nanking in the year 1933. The next year, Prof YS Tan was sent to India, and with the help extended by Tagore, set up the Indian headquarters of the Society in Santiniketan. Tagore became its
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first president. Its charter stated: “The object of this Society shall be to study the Mind of India and China with a view to an interchange of their cultures and cultivation of friendship between the peoples of the two countries for the purpose of promoting peace and unity in the world.’ The program of the society include the following items: Organizing Indian cultural delegations to go to China, and Chinese delegations to come to Indian for conducting research work, and delivering lectures on Indian and Chinese cultures; recommending Indian students to study in China and Chinese students to study in India; establishing an Indian Institute in China and a Chinese Hall in India; publishing book and journals embodying the result of researches; etc. At the time of the inauguration of the Society in Santiniketan, Tagore, as its first president, sent the following message to China: “My friends in China, “The truth that we received when your pilgrims came to us in India, and ours to you, – that is not lost even now. “What a great pilgrimage was that! What a great time in history! It is our duty today to revive the heroic spirit of the pilgrimage following the ancient path which is not merely a geographical one, but the great historical path that was built across the difficult barriers of race difference, and difference of language and tradition, reaching the spiritual home where man is in bonds of love and cooperation.” (April 23, 1934) In the last few years, the Society has done much for the revival of cultural intercourse between the two countries, its greatest achievement being the inauguration of the Cheena-Bhavana (China College), as a department of the Visva-Bharati (International University). Since then, Santiniketan has become the nucleus of Chinese studies in India with Rabindranath as its first and most enthusiastic patron. Chinese studies had been conducted in Visva-Bharati even before the appearance of CheenaBhavana. In 1922, there was Dr Sylvain Levy, the eminent French Orientalist, coming to Santiniketan from Europe
to start the course of Chinese studies. When he left, the work was continued by Prof G Tucci, the Italian visiting professor. A little while later, the VisvaBharati authorities formally organized Chinese studies under its research department Vidya-Bhavana, with Pandit Vidhushekhara Bhattacharya Shastri as its head. After Tagore’s visit to China, though Liang Chi-chao and others failed to come, time was ripening for the establishment of a separate department in Visva-Bharati to conduct Chinese studies. The first Chinese scholar holding regular classes in Santiniketan was a Mr Lin, who stayed there for about two years. But the CheenaBhavana only came into being through the efforts of his successor, Prof YS Tan, who was also founder of the SinoIndian Cultural Society, as already mentioned before. Prof Tan was editing a Chinese newspaper in Singapore when he met Tagore for the time in that colonial capital. Being a devoted Buddhist, he had long been interested in the resumption of cultural and religious communications between India and China. When he saw Rabindranath and learned of his attitude toward China, he found it was a great chance and grasped it. He came to Santiniketan the following year to teach Chinese, five students at first. Prof Tan returned to China in 1931, preparing for the organization of the Sino-Indian Cultural Society, and stressing the importance of setting up the Cheena-Bhavana before the Chinese public. With his zealous endeavor, he won the sympathy of both the official and private circles, especially among the Buddhists, including such eminent persons as H.E. Mr Tai Chi-tao, President of the Examination Yuan and the Rev Tai Hsu, President of the Chinese Buddhist Association. Prof Tan returned to Santiniketan in 1934 to open the Indian centre of the Cultural Society and went to Nanking, the then capital of China, again in the latter part of the same year to raise funds and collect books for CheenaBhavana. These he brought over by sea when he came to India for the third
time in 1936. The construction of the Chinese Hall followed soon afterwards. On April, 14th 1937, which was the Bengali New Year Day, the Hall was formally inaugurated by Rabindranath personally. Prof Tan became its first Director. The object of the Cheena-Bhavana, which is the official name of the hall, was “to establish and promote cultural exchange between China and India, for which purpose it will provide facilities for Chinese scholars to study Indian languages, religions and philosophies, – as well as for Indian scholars to study the Chinese languages, religions and
all of our Chinese scholars have the sincerest sympathy with him and our leading scholars and leaders have also cherished for long the same idea and are willing to co-strive for the common goal with joint endeavours. Now is the time for India and China to resume and strengthen their cultural relationship. philosophies, Buddhism being regarded as the nucleus of all such studies.” Since then, Santiniketan has had a special significance to China, and any party going from China and India, private or official, should not fail to pay a visit to this ideal University of Gurudev Tagore’s. The Chinese Goodwill Mission headed by President Tai Chi-tao (which visited India some years before) and Cultural and Educational Mission headed by ViceMinister Ku Yu-hsu (both in 1943) stayed in Santiniketan for a few days. The poet Hsu Chih-mo and artist Hsu Pe-on remained there for months. During President and Madame January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |51|
INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | CULTURE
Chiang Kai-shek’s historical visit to India in 1942, Visva-Bharati was the only educational institution on their itinerary. Tagore, with his spirit of universal love, has established an everlasting friendship with the Chinese leaders and people. Though his body has gone, his spirit is still linking Chinese and Indian together. Recently, through the efforts of Director YS Tan, Prof Wu Hsiao-ling, Pt Vidhushekhar Shastri, Prof Sujit kumar Mukhopadhyaya and others, the Cheena-Bhavana has attracted students not only from India and China, but also from Ceylon, Siam and Java. In 1944 Mr Krishna Kink Sinha, an ex-student of that institution was selected to go to Kunming in southwestern China to teach Indian language and culture. In view of its short history, what Cheena-Bhavana has achieved is not negligible and its future is promising. But it must be remembered that without the unreserved help given by the late Gurudev, there would have been no Cheena-Bhavana at all. Of late much interest has been aroused both in China and in India for the revival of Sino-Indian cultural collaboration and not a few things have been done in this direction, both officially and privately, such as the exchange of research scholars between the two countries, the establishment of scholarships by the Chinese Government in India for Indian students to study Chinese history and culture, the opening of departments of Indian languages in at least three universities in China, Sir S Radhakrishnan’s visit to China at the invitation of the Chinese Government in 1945, and the exchange of missions of various subjects of science (notably, agricultural and medical). If one day the cultural relationship between our two countries can reach the same extent as in the glorious days when Buddhism entered China, let us not forget Gurudev, for he was the pioneer and the very symbol of this revival of international cultural collaboration. (An excerpt from a paper published by the IGNCA) |52| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | CULTURE
paces of a new dance form. It was not easy but Uma persisted and as her Guru was to later affirm, she was a diligent and agile student who soon fell in step with the dance form and her life in Delhi. Interest in Indian dance forms among Chinese students have been on the rise, and include the irrepressible Bollywood style too. And as Uma takes a break from her vigorous workout and settles down for a chat, she wipes her sweat and says, “Pasina.” Uma had picked up some Hindi too. Text & Photo: Prashun Bhaumik
Our Experience, Your Imagination
y first sight of Uma was of her delicately poised in a mudra while her teacher was busy perfecting the angles. This was at the famous Gandharva Mahavidyalaya’s ground floor studio – the teacher Odissi’s famous exponent Madhavi Mudgal and student Uma Li. Yes a Chinese girl who had travelled all the way to learn the exquisite Odissi dance form. Like so many Chinese girl Li Qian Qian was trained in ballet but on a trip to India with a friend the young and pretty Li fell in love with Odissi. And thus began her journey. On a scholarship and a new name Uma – given by the then India’s Ambassador to Beijing Nirupama Rao (now Foreign Secretary) – came to live in Delhi and work the |54| India-China Chronicle
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January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |55|
B O O K R E V I E W
Looking East to Look West W
Author: Sunanda K Datta-Ray Publishers: Penguin/Viking, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
hen PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh launched India’s ‘Look East’ policy, it was only the first stage of the strategy to foster economic and security cooperation with the United States. But ‘Looking East’ became an end in itself, and Singapore a valid destination, largely because of Lee Kuan Yew. He had been trying since the 1950s to persuade India’s leaders that China would steal a march on them if they neglected domestic reform and ignored a region that India had influenced profoundly in ancient times. With his deep understanding of Indian life, close ties with India’s leaders from Jawaharlal Nehru on, and sound grasp of realpolitik, Lee never tired of stressing that Asia would be ‘submerged’ if India did not ‘emerge’. Looking East to Look West recounts how India and Singapore rediscovered long-forgotten ties in the endeavour to create a new Asia. Singapore sponsored India’s membership of regional institutions. India and Singapore broke diplomatic convention with unprecedented economic and defence agreements that are set to transform boundaries of trade and cooperation. This book traces the process from the earliest mention of Suvarnabhumi in the Ramayana to Lee Kuan Yew’s letter to Lal Bahadur Shastri within moments of declaring independence on 9 August 1965, from the Tatas’ pioneering industrial training venture in Singapore to Singapore’s Information Technology Park in Bangalore. It explains the part Lee played in India’s emergence as a player in the emerging Concert of Asia. History comes alive in these pages as Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, who had eight long conversations with Lee Kuan Yew, tells the story in the words of the
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main actors and with a wealth of anecdotes and personal details not available to many chroniclers. In Looking East To Look West - Lee Kuan Yew’s Mission India, DattaRay proposes that the Singapore’s engagement with India is not a recent phenomenon. The Indian fever raging in Singapore has less to do with India’s rise as a global power and more to do with India and Singapore’s shared history. The India-Singapore love affair, according to Datta-Ray, has had its seeds sown since Lee was a law student at Cambridge. An admirer of Nehru, the young Lee was at that time, also spearheading a political movement to overthrow British rule. PN Balji, reviewing the book in the Singapore daily Today, called this angle ‘audacious’. An audacious angle is always good for getting people to think and discuss what they have never considered before. In this aspect, Datta-Ray has succeeded. But he goes beyond making bold and original claims simply for the sake of raising eyebrows. The book gives a first-hand view into IndiaSingapore relations, and is peppered
with anecdotes from key diplomats. To Datta-Ray’s credit, the book also discusses the pragmatism behind the India-Singapore relationship: Geo-politics. Singapore needed good relations with India to demonstrate that the city state with an ethnic Chinese majority was not going to become a satellite of China. Singapore is India’s second largest investor in terms of Foreign Direct Investments, beating countries with far larger economies, like the United States and Japan. Not many people know this. And even fewer know that Singapore is a net recipient of migrant workers from South Asia. These workers with their blood and sweat build the modern Singapore that we see today. India and Singapore’s destinies have been intertwined since the conception of their national identities and one will not do without the other. Indeed, as Lee Kuan Yew said, Asia would be submerged if India did not emerge. This is a scholarly, meticulously researched and gripping story from journalist Sunanda K. Datta-Ray of how Singapore icon Lee Kuan Yew persisted despite great odds to court India, his successes and disappointments, and how his dream of embracing New Delhi has finally become a reality now. Contrary to what many think, Lee remains a huge friend of India, one who knew virtually every Indian prime minister right from Jawaharlal Nehru and made 14 trips to India between 1959 and 2004 – more than any other foreign leader. Although Chinese by ethnicity, Lee never wavered in his conviction that Southeast Asia needed India to cope with China. He even snubbed Chinese premier Hua Guo Feng by refusing to accept his gift of Neville Maxwell’s controversial book on the 1962 SinoIndian war. Lee was steadfast even when India tied itself to Moscow and embraced economics that made no sense to Singapore. Building relations with India wasn’t easy. Nehru liked Lee, and the Singapore leader admired the Indian giant. But Indian bureaucracy did not play ball. It did not want to
get too friendly with tiny Singapore so as not to offend Malaysia. Even though India was the first nonEuropean Commonwealth country to recognise Singapore, it still irks Lee that Lal Bahadur Shastri did not even acknowledge his appeal to help his country militarily. Lee’s interest in India was strategic. Indira Gandhi agreed to train the Singapore air force but Lee found to his dismay that India was too occupied with Pakistan to think big. Lee was a trenchant critic of everything he saw was wrong in India. That did not endear him to everyone. Indian perceptions of Singapore too were based on a mix of halftruths, wishful thinking and myth.
Indira Gandhi’s recognition of the Vietnamese-backed Heng Samrin regime in Kampuchea sawIndiaSingapore ties hit their lowest point. But by the next decade, when India unleashed sweeping economic reforms, some 3,000 Indian companies had opened branches in Singapore, whose global standing was now recognised. And although there were other hiccups in bilateral relations, not many Indians realised that Goh Chok Tong, who succeed Lee as prime minister after the latter quit to become ‘Senior Minister’, was only acting on the guidelines he had inherited by sponsoring India at various Asian forums. PV Narasimha Rao’s ‘Look East Policy’ helped. From then on, despite nowand-then roadblocks, relations only blossomed. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was to summarise India’s perception of Lee in 2005: ‘Lee Kuan Yew has been a friend and a wellwisher of India. As a friend, he has also occasionally criticised us, but we have always listened to what he has to say with great, great respect.’ By then, Indians were finding themselves at home in Singapore compared to many other countries. That had nothing to do with Lee’s Gurkha guard and the bronze Nataraja at his door.
January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |57|
B O O K s
Top 10 books to read about China Sara Naumann I love a good travelogue as much as I do a historical novel. When I first visit a place, I personally find I don’t do much reading about it before I go. I dislike having pre-conceptions about what I’m going to find. That said, I usually end up spending half a day in the English-language bookstores looking for books to read on the place once I’m there. This list should save you that trouble. By all means, read them before you go, but if you’re like me, buy a few to take along to read once you’ve arrived in China. Carl Crow, a Tough Old China Hand: The Life, Times, and Adventures of an America Follow intrepid Crow from Missouri to Shanghai at the turn of the twentieth century and watch Shanghai change from a riverside village to the Paris of the East through his eyes. Mr. French is himself an old China hand and occasionally speaks about Carl Crow in Shanghai and abroad. Certainly try to catch one of his talks if you happen to be in town at the time. Author: Paul French Chasing the Monk’s Shadow With one foot in the seventh century following Xuanzang, a Chinese monk who traveled from China to India visiting Buddhist holy sites, and the other foot in the twenty-first trailing Xuanzang’s quest, Saran’s travelogue is a spellbinding journey between historical storytelling and day-by-day travel. Author: Mishi Saran Factory Girls Narrative reportage of life in Dongguan, China’s “factory” to the world.
The author hangs out with migrant women who come seeking their fortunes from all over China. It’s an amazing window into real peoples’ lives and makes you stop and think about the hands that put together your Nike shoes and Apple iPhone. Chang’s own family narrative is slightly less interesting but the book is worth a read. Author: Leslie T. Chang Fried Eggs with Chopsticks A more recent travelogue than Riding the Iron Rooster, Evans travels by rail and bus to interesting parts of China. A sole woman traveler, it’s a good read if you’re thinking about backpacking or traveling on your own. Author: Polly Evans Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World While the author is a bit selfaggrandizing, this tale is an interesting one of China’s minority cultures colliding with the modern day. Co-authors: Yang Erche Namu & Christine Mathieu
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Mr. China The quintessential book on doing business in China. Anyone who is even thinking remotely about it should read Mr. China for the full scoop on how it is to do business with locals. It’s a hilarious read, but should make you pause before you dive head-first into a business venture...while there are a billion customers there are at least as many headaches, or worse. Author: Tim Clissold Oracle Bones Fascinating interwoven tales of everyday people that the author meets and knows in China with stories of China’s archeological history. One of the most readable accounts of China today I’ve come across. Author: Peter Hessler (Peter Hessler is my favorite China author. Read his books if you don’t read any others about China.) Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now A self-avowed Maoist and one of the first two foreign students allowed
entry to China in 1972 to study at Beijing University, the author narrates a fascinating picture of how it was to be a student under Mao Zedong. She describes with wit her battle with her inner convictions to Mao Zedong Thought and the everyday craziness that went along with its implementation. She struggles for the “privilege” to join her worker-peasantstudent classmates in hard labor both in the countryside and in machinery factories. And while she believes in
the thought-reform that would come from such manual labor, she secretly eats imported sweets and celebrates on return to Beijing with a big meal at her favorite restaurant. Author: Jan Wong Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China Join Mr. Theroux on his train journey throughout China in the late 1980s. This is a great introduction to
travel in the different areas of China, although things have certainly gotten a lot easier since Mr. Theroux’s journey. Author: Paul Theroux Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City A well-told history of Shanghai. This book really takes you down the laneways and into the opium dens of Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s. Author: Stella Dong
January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |59|
F I L M R E V I E W
Beijing Bicycle Directed by : Wang Xiaoshuai
ang Xiaoshuai’s Beijing Bicycle is easily one the masterpieces of Chinese cinema. The movie was released in 2001 and is a simple story of two boys who share their bone of contention, a bicycle. And through every bit of the movie, Wang has succeeded in making the bicycle the focus of our attention. Beijing Bicycle has often been compared to and reminds us of Vittorio de Sica’s 1948 Italian neorealist masterpiece The Bicycle Thief where a poor man who recently comes to the city from the country wins a job at a bicycle courier business and on his first day his bicycle stolen. He then proceeds with his son to search and retrieve his bicycle. Luckily, Beijing Bicycle quickly veers away from being a simple update of Sica’s classic. Gui is a country boy and arrives in Beijing in search of employment. He finds the job of a courier boy at a courier company. Qin, a rich neighbour in high heels and expensive clothes, dazzles him. The company issues Gui a bicycle which |60| India-China Chronicle January-February 2011
he must pay for out of his wages. The bicycle gets stolen one day while he’s delivering letters to a company. Gui’s hunt for his bicycle begins and he finally comes across the thief, a school student, Jian; the determined Gui follows Jian home and steals back the bicycle from where Jian hides it. For Jian, the bicycle is the key to teen society - with his pals and with Xiao, a girl he fancies. Jian who’s looking out for Gui traces him down; Gui tries to run off with the bicycle several times but is stopped by Jian and his gang of schoolboys. Gui stubbornly tries to reclaim it in the face of great odds. But for Jian to lose the bicycle would mean humiliation. For the first hour of the movie, the bicycle moves back and forth between them. Wang shot one of the most brilliant scenes for the film where the bicycle is on the ground as Gui, still bleeding, clings on to it while hysterically crying and screaming. Eventually the two “owners” strike a deal whereby they alternate possession of the bicycle. The story takes a turn when Jian’s girl friend Xiao falls for another soul-mate, Da Huan and he hits Da Huan with a brick. Jian, a brat feeling defeated finally hands over
the bicycle to Gui for good. The boys gang targets Jian in retaliation for the assault he just committed, and, although he is entirely innocent, they also target Gui, who is with Jian for their routine bicycle exchange. In effect, by their coownership the bicycle has reduced the two boys to a single identity; beating up one now requires beating up the other. Both “owners,” in fact, are beaten to a pulp, and the bicycle, once the bone of contention between them, is destroyed in the fracas. Gui, the gentle country boy, picks up a slab and bludgeons one of the gang members before retrieving “his” bicycle, whose bent and broken carcass he carries through the streets. The two characters are compared and contrasted, and it works as an effective class study. The two young men and the people around them - are swept up in the youth’s desperation. The direction, editing and execution are particularly great in the film. The climax involves two intersecting chases and although in the end we are asked to sympathize with him, the high school kid is a brat and has a character that is
unsympathetic. While Jian, the school boy, is extraordinarily unlikable. Gui’s character in the film is that of a country boy and reflects China’s rural poverty. Most of Gui’s earnings is retained by the company he works for against instalments towards the bicycle. Here Wang showcases the old connection between Chinese capitalism and Chinese feudalism from the past. In addition, the young couriers stand in a row with their new bicycles; at one point when Gui pedals through Beijing streets, the camera takes in a long, tracking close up of one of the spinning wheels. It’s as if the boy were an extension of the bicycle. Wang is a true visual artist; his shots do not elaborate on ideas embedded in the script but, instead, formally embody these ideas. The film explores the theme of youth as well as several social issues, including class, youth delinquency, theft, and rural-urban socio-economic divisions and change. There’s not much closure. But still, Beijing Bicycle is an excellent film and a must watch for cinema lovers. January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |61|
Exhibitions&Trade S. No. 1
Exhibition Electronics for You Expo
Indian Handicrafts & Gifts Fair
Date 17 to 19 Feb, 2011
19 to 22 Feb, 2011
Venue Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
India Exposition Centre & Mart Ltd., Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh
In India • In China
Event Profile Electronics For You 2011 is a fully dedicated event for the electronics industry. The expo will feature conferences, seminars, and investment related workshops organized specifically for imparting knowledge of new technologies to the unaware segments of the industry, so they can become a part of a grand electronic revolution in India. The event will bring buyers and sellers together like never before, creating tremendous trade opportunities. EFU 2011 is expected to attract over 300 exhibitors along with 10000 visitors from all over the country and neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair is brought to you by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts under the aegis of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. It provides comprehensive information to foreign buyers on the entire range of handicrafts of India and liaisons between Indian handicrafts exporters and foreign buyers.
Pharma World Expo
23 to 26 Feb, 2011
Bombay Exhibition Centre(BEC), Mumbai
Being organized by Chemtech Foundation, Pharma Bio World Expo is one of the foremost show for pharma and biotech industry in India. For 4 days, the show will be held at Bombay Exhibition Centre - NSE Exhibition Complex, India and will prove to be one of the largest exhibition and conference for chemical and pharma industry. Vesting on an area more than 30,000 square meter.
Gem & Jewellery India International Exhibition
26 to 28 Feb, 2011
Chennai Trade & Convention Centre Chennai, Tamil Nadu
GEM & JEWELLERY INDIA INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION 2011 (GJIIE) is one of the premier B-2-B International Jewellery Exhibition in South India. It is an ideal platform which brings both exhibitors and visitors together under one roof. The 7th Edition of this show will bring together high-quality, original designs and high value for the trade customers who appreciate the finesse of fine jewellery, diamonds, gems and pearls.
02 to 04 March, 2011
Bombay Exhibition Centre(BEC) Mumbai
For 3 days, Aquatech India will emerged out as a finest show for drinking and waste water sector which will prove to be a great center for launching of varied products and services. the show will be organized by Inter Ads Brooks at Mumbai, India. It is one of the most important events which is motivated towards tapping emerging trends of automobile sector.
Indian Furniture & Accessories Show
06 to 08 March, 2011
TBA, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Indian Furniture & Accessories Show is organized by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, in Jodhpur, India. This 3 day event is acknowledged as eminent fair for furniture world. The fair will offer the international buyers an opportunity to get access to the best of Indian furniture ranging from Colonial Furniture, Traditional Furniture, Home Decoratives & Accessories & many more
All Clean Environment
11 to 14 March, 2011
Bangalore KTPO Trade Centre Bengaluru, Karnataka
Organized at KTPO - Trade Centre Bangalore, Bengaluru, India, the All Clean Environment gives a snapshot of Environment industry by displaying Air & Climate, Environmental Technologies, Renewable Energy, Waste & Recycling and Water & Waste Water Treatment etc. Hosted jointly by Adsstation, the fair edges over other in unveiling technologies advancements, techniques and different products.nto international rubber industry.
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International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Expo
22 to 24 Feb, 2011
Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Shanghai
International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Expo is characterized as one of the definite show for Photovoltaic Power Generation. For 3 days, it will showcase world's largest Photovoltaic industry. A conference will also be held along with the event which will give a complete snapshot of the sector.
International IC-China Conference & ExhibitionShenzhen
25 to 26 Feb, 2011
Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, Shenzhen, Guangdong
International IC-China Conference & Exhibition-Shenzhen is a must-attend event for design engineers, technical managers and purchasing executives in China. It is the Mainland's largest showcase of IC application technologies, embedded solutions and high-end components.
China International Auto Accessories Electronics, Tuning & Care Products Expo
25 to 27 Feb, 2011
New China International Exhibition Center, Beijing
CIAACE, one of the oldest platforms in China’s auto aftermarket industry, as well as the biggest expo for car accessories, electronics, tuning and car care products in China, drew 2,089 exhibitors and 126,842 visitors in 2010. What shall we expect from CIAACE 2011? Over 3,000 exhibitors, more than 100,000 buyers, world-class venue, and most importantly, it will be more internationalized.
East China Fair 2011
01 to 05 March, 2011
Shanghai New International Expo Centre(SNIEC)
The East China Fair 2011 is the 21st edition of this prestigious trade fair series and it is dedicated to the Apparel & Clothing industry. This fair is a tremendous B2B platform and has the potential of generating massive sales for the traders. With the involvement of over 3500 exhibitors, it offers a one stop solution for the visitors, serving all their business needs under one roof. It is a 5 day event and will start from 1st March 2011 and will take place at the famous Shanghai International Trade Expo Centre. Due to its reputation as one of the finest trade fairs in apparel industry, the event is expected to bring in over 50, 000 visitors from across the globe.
China International Hardware Fair
09 to 11 March, 2011
Shanghai New International Expo Centre(SNIEC)
China International Hardware Fair (CIHF) has been held for more than 100 sessions since 1952. CIHF is held twice each year, one in Shanghai in March and the other one in major cities in China in September. Now the fair has an exhibition area of more than 92,000©O with over 5,000 international standard exhibition booths and more than 2,000 exhibitors home and abroad. Now more than 60,000 purchasers home and abroad have visited the fair. Exhibits include hand tools, electric tools, welding machineries, mechanical equipments, etc.
09 to 11 March, 2011
China Import & Export Fair Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou, Guangdong
Sino Pack is the premier exhibition of packaging and processing machinery, materials and associated technology in China. Sino Pack is your opportunity to present your products and solutions live and in person to a dedicated buying audience.
China Wenzhou International Machine Tool Exhibition
11 to 13 March, 2011
Wenzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center, Wenzhou, Zhejiang
China (Wenzhou) International Machine Tool Exhibition, a brand fair under the administration of CNMTC, is one of the leading machinery fair as well as one of the most vigorous professional fairs for machinery in China. Consequently it was regarded as one of the three famous fairs in Wenzhou by the local government with the highest priority.
China International Furniture Fair Home Furniture
18 to 21 March, 2011
China Import & Export Fair Pazhou Complex Guangzhou, Guangdong
China International Furniture Fair 2011 is an excellent platform for the entire woodwork and furniture industry. The event has been successfully organized over the last 17 years and has brought great rewards to Chinese furniture industry. The exhibition will be a comprehensive display of all the woodwork needed for complete home decoration. Famous for its great networking benefits, China International Furniture Fair is an ideal platform for those who want to expand their business at an international stage. Over 1, 50, 000 visitors and around 500 exhibitors are expected to participate in this 4 day event.
China Sustainable Building Forum & Expo
22 to 24 March, 2011
Shanghai New International Expo Centre(SNIEC), Shanghai
China Sustainable Building Forum & Expo is an international platform for the construction industry of communication, learning and trade. The event will displays areas and affiliated exhibitions will be held to show in a more direct the latest technology and products in sustainable building industry.
January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |63|
o continue with musings about my life here in Shanghai, recently I went to a DVD shop to buy some, well, DVDs. This is definitely not something I do only in Shanghai. I obviously did it back in India too!! What was unique however was that I bought a DVD of 3 Idiots in the shop. Yes – a DVD of a Hindi film in a small out-of-the way shop in Shanghai. Our own 3 Idiots, subtitled completely in Chinese! It is also not uncommon to find youngsters sing “All is well” with élan. It was indeed interesting to see how a film was bridging the gap between the youths of both the countries. Perhaps this was a reflection of a sense of shared experiences of the youths of both the countries!! Recently, I also met my friend Akash. No – he is not someone who had come over from India to especially meet me but a native of Taiyuan, China. His actual name is Jia Yan and he is a final year student of Hindi (Hons) at the Peking University. And he is fluent in Hindi. For many, this may not be a new phenomenon. Many already know about Chinese students learning Hindi. I wanted to further explore the reasons for this. For Akash, to study India and to understand India, it was necessary to study “one of the main languages of the world which is spoken by 400 million people… ..I think Hindi is indispensible for understanding the lives of ordinary people in India.” The rest of his classmates chose to study Hindi as they were either interested in international relations and trade or Indian history, culture, religion and art. The prospects of studying Hindi also seem to be bright wherein students can go to work in the public sector or enter into the booming bilateral trade domain. Academics
also offer a bright future where research on India is increasing by the day. In fact, research about India has always been under-taken in China, albeit more about Indian culture and history. China has produced a great Indologist, Prof Ji Xianlin, who has translated the Ramayana into Chinese. By 2008, even the Mahabharata had been translated into Chinese by scholars of Peking University. In addition to Hindi, Peking University also teaches Urdu, Sanskrit and Pali!! A Master degree course in South Asian studies is also run by the university that teaches about various aspects of India. Currently, I am on a trip to my friend Rita’s place in Gansu. Again, as you might have guessed, she is my Chinese friend from a small city called Zhangye in Gansu. She studied Hindi at the Xian International Studies University. After graduating, she teaches Hindi at Yunan University of Nationalities. Her university started its Hindi language course just last year. According to her, there are now six universities in China that teach Hindi as a major. The teachers are mostly Chinese, with a few of the universities having full time teachers flown in from India. The others employ Indian students studying there as Hindi teachers. Thus, it seems that from Indian films to Indian language (China Radio Prof Ji Xianlin, translated the International is supposed to Ramayana into Chinese be airing channels in Hindi, Urdu and Bengali), the gap between Indian and Chinese peoples, especially the youth is reducing. The future seems to be promising…
Three Idiots in Shanghai
‘INDIAN BRIDE’ A Chinese girl admires herself in a Indian wedding saree.
Sumelika Bhattacharyya Chronicle Bureau, Shanghai
January-February 2011 India-China Chronicle |64|