India has enough potential to be worth the hardships, with its growing and ever vibrant young generation
I think 刘宏 understanding of India is pretty accurate and his judgements fair. Here are few of my observations on the questions posed by JJ :
1. In India right now everything related to China is seen through the lens of the border dispute. Many Chinese commentators haven't quite gauged the seriousness with which the Indian public and government looks at the issue. These commentators think economic engagement and the border can be handled separately, but the reality is that in India normalisation of the relationship will wholly depend on the border situation. Currently around 100k soldiers are face to face on the border with heavy artillery and that's seen by the people here as a serious threat to the security of the country as China is a much more powerful country. The good news is that recently 王毅 and Jaishankar met and hinted at a consensus that 习近平and Modi has come to. Hopefully we will have a resolution soon.
2. I totally agree with the speaker about the commonalities between the two peoples. I have worked with Chinese people before and I realised how similar our cultures and attitudes towards work are. But today, many Indians (who are totally ignorant of China and the Chinese people) look at China with suspicion and a few nut cases with a mix of hate. This is a result of constant bombardment of negative news by foreign and Indian media. You cannot find one story in the media that talks well of China. I personally try to spread a bit more love and less hate by taking about the good and positive things.
3. On the economic front I think there's a lot that is happening in India. Lots of capital is being spent on physical infrastructure to improve transportation and connectivity. Road, railways, airports etc. In fact recently Indigo ordered a record 500 A320s, the largest order in the history of commercial aviation. And Air India also placed a big order with Airbus and Boeing. That said India has a seriously long way to go before it reaches the quality and scale of China. On the digital infrastructure front I think we are reaching the cutting edge at scale. I can tell you with first hand experience how dramatic the change has been in a very short period of time. Just 4-5 years back 100s of million didn't have a bank account. Today people are taking loans in 5 minutes online and making payments using their phones rather than cash. A revolution similar to China's.
I hope the two sides can resolve their border dispute soon and focus on cooperation. I am also looking forward to hearing from voices from China about India and how Chinese people think about the issue.
Hi Mike. The reason is that more than 20 soldiers lost their lives during the Galwan clash. For the first time since 1962 soldiers had killed each other. It is one thing to push each other around near the border areas and quite another to kill each other. The violent and gory stories of the clash reverberated across the Indian media (in all Indian languages and in every corner of the country). Death of soldiers triggered tremendous nationalistic fervour, as will be the case anywhere in the world probably. The India media had a field day with the incident and went all out berserk reporting on the really unfortunate incident. And this was in the midst of the pandemic, when Trump's vicious (and racist) attacks on China was changing the perceptions of Indians. Around the same time many Chinese online lending companies were accused of using unfair and harsh methods of recovering dues from defaulters (something that had happened a few years back in China too). Some of this accusations were genuine and some not.
All of these incidents, especially the death of soldiers, sparked a debate in the country about the China relationship. Debates questioned the basis of economic engagement if soldiers were being killed in the border. The public sentiment totally flipped because of one unfortunate night. In a democratic system the Government had to react strongly to show that it was being tough on China. And so the Chinese companies and investors, who had nothing to do with the clash, had to bear the brunt of the changed conditions. Apps were banned. Tax authorities targeted Xiaomi, Vivo etc with raids. I can tell you with first hand experience, there was a lot of economic loss. There was such an incredible relationship that was building up between Chinese investors and Indian startups. All of the that was lost because of one night of violence.
Thankfully both governments were wise to take a step back and start talking. The talks continue till date. But during this time something fundamentally shifted. India sees no option but to get closer to America to defend itself against a much more powerful China. In effect the border clashes pushed India more deeply into the arms of the US. To be sure, India will never ally with the US. But given its weak position, it has no option but to grow its friendship with the US. And the US sensing an opportunity on balancing power in Asia has gone head over heels in wooing India. If India and China fight then it's great for the US.
I think Chinese commentators need to consider more seriously how India perceives the border clash. In a democratic country the government doesn't have that much wiggle room in stopping such negative incidents from being publicly aired by the media. Even if the government doesn't want to take an action it is forced to do so because of the public sentiment.
I also think many in China also don't appreciate the fact that India wants to become like China, a powerful, independent voice globally. This can be best understood by the way Jaishankar, the foreign minister, schools Europeans when they try to tell him why India should join the sanctions against Russia. These are tough geopolitical times. There is a lot of misperceptions and misunderstandings. Perhaps the best way to improve the Indo-China relations is to first resolve the border and then I think everything will fall in place gradually.