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THE TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES.

September 3, 2008

 

The two countries are the most populous countries  in the world comprising 40% of the world population.One is the third largest while the other is the seventh largest country in the world in area.Both the countries are the oldest civilizations of the world ,having rich and prosperous history. Both the countries fell prey to European imperialism and were victim to the exploitation. Both the countries are neighbour to each other and has fought a war against each other , Both the countries are in Asia.

Yes the countries are China  and India.

Let us talk about China first.China has one of the world’s oldest people and continuous civilizations, consisting of states and cultures dating back more than six millennia. It has the world’s longest continuously used written language system. It is the home to the four great inventions — paper, compass, gunpowder and printing.The last Chinese civil war has resulted in two political entities using the china : the People’s Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China, which controls mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau; and the Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, which controls the islands of Taiwan, Pescadores, Kinmen, and Matsu.This took place in 1949. Presently ,both the two countries are recognized in the world as Independent nations.

The People republic of China came under one party communist under the leadership of Mao Zedong , the father of the modern China. Under the shadow of Soviet leadership and after the Chinese Civil War, mainland China underwent a series of disruptive socioeconomic movements starting in the late 1950s with the Great Leap Forward and continuing in the 1960s with the Cultural Revolution that left much of its education system and economy in shambles. With the death of its first generation Communist Party leaders such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, the PRC began implementing a series of political and economic reforms advocated by Deng Xiaoping that eventually formed the foundation for mainland China’s rapid economic development starting in the 1990s.

Post-1978 reforms on the mainland have led to some relaxation of control over many areas of society. However, the PRC government still has almost absolute control over politics, and it continually seeks to eradicate what it perceives as threats to the social, political and economic stability of the country. Examples include the fight against terrorism, jailing of political opponents and journalists, custody regulation of the press, regulation of religion, and suppression of independence/secessionist movements. In 1989, the student protests at Tiananmen Square were violently put to an end by the Chinese military after 15 days of martial law. In 1997, Hong Kong was returned to the PRC by the United Kingdom, and in 1999, Macau was returned by Portugal.

The People’s Republic of China has the second largest economy in the world with a GDP of over $6.9 trillion (2007) when measured on a purchasing power parity(PPP) basis. In November 2007, it became the third largest in the world after the US and Japan with a nominal GDP of US$3.42 trillion (2007) when measured in exchange rate terms while it is second largest of 10.21 trillion US$ in PPP(2006). Since free market reforms in 1978 China’s GDP has grown an average 9.9 percent a year. China’s per capita income has grown at an average annual rate of more than 8% over the last three decades, drastically reducing poverty, but this rapid growth has been accompanied by rising income inequalities. The country’s per capita income is classified as low by world standards, at about $2000 (nominal, 107th of 179 countries/economies), and $7800 (PPP, 82nd of 179 countries/economies) in 2006, according to the International Monetary fund.

In case of India, the first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus valley civilization, dating back to 3300 BCE in western India. It was followed by the vedic period, which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society, and ended in the 500s BC. From the sixteenth century, several European countries, including Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, started arriving as traders and later took advantage of the fractious nature of relations between the kingdoms to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India was under the control of the British East India company. A year later, a nationwide insurrection of rebelling military units and kingdoms, variously referred to as the India’s first war of Independence or Sepoy Mutiny, seriously challenged the British Company’s control but eventually failed. As a consequence, India came under the direct rule of the British crown as a colony of the British Empire.

During the first half of the twentieth century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian national Congress and other political organizations. In the 1920s and 1930, under a movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, chatacterized by the commitment to ahimsa, or non-violence, millions of protesters engaged in mass campaigns of civil disobediance. Finally, on 15 August 1947, India gained independence from British rule, but was partitioned with independent governments for the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan in accordance with the wishes of the muslim league, to create a nation state along the lines of religion. Three years later, on 26 January 1950, India became a republic and a new constitution came into effect.India came under multi party democracy with the comman man having his say in the govt.

For most of its post-independence history, India adhered to a quasi-socialist approach with strict government control over private sector participation, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment. However, since 1991, India has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms and reduced government controls on foreign trade and investment.Foreign exchange investment have risen from US$5.8 billion in March 1991 to US$308 billion on 4 July 2008, while federal and state budget deficits have decreased. Privatisation of publicly-owned companies and the opening of certain sectors to private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate. With a GDP growth rate of 9.4% in 2006-07, the economy is among the fastest growing in the world.India’s GDP in terms of USD exchange rate is US$1.089 trillion. When measured in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), India has the world’s fourth largest GDP at US$5.21 trillion(2008). India’s per capita income(nominal) is US$977, while its per capita (PPP) is US$2659.

We should also understand the contrast between the two countries. While China under communism and Soviet influence ,was inward looking, concentrating more its economy and neighbouring countries, India was having a dynamic foreign policy. It was the leader of the Third world countries also known as Non aligned countries ,which distanced itself from both the Power blocs.It was a friend of soviet than to US. It was against Apartheid ,against creation of Israel and against the western policies. It fought three wars against Pakistan,a protege of the US and China and one war against the China itself. Whereas China also fought a war against Russia and against the US in Vietnam,Korea and Taiwan ,it was more of a role as a vanguard of communism unlike India saw itself as  a saviour of poor nations against the imperialism of west.

Unlike India , China always harboured global ambition. Its active nuclear policy,its missile programme and its military build up showed it all.It maintains the second largest military in the world comprising army, airforce and navy followed by India which has the third largest military. It became the permanent member of United nation backed by both US and USSR. Its economic policies made it into the second in GNP after US , it has the highest foreign reserves of 1.2 trillion dollars ,It has the highest growth rate  continuously,it is the second most powerful nation in terms of military after the break up of soviet union and dismantling of warsaw pact.It spent 46billion dollar in staging the Olympics and  also won the highest number of medals leaving both US and Russia behind.It is clear that it is going to compete with the US in all aspects and is recognized and respected all over the world for its pragmatism and diplomatic astuteness.It did this all in a very systematic way .

Both the countries are growing economically,militarily and are as stable as any western nation. Both of them combined have the largest market in the world in terms numbers and purchasing power.This combined market is much bigger than the US or EEC market. Since both the countries are neighbouring and have fought the war , both must be concerned with each other.Although both the countries show maturity, the interference from west to destabilise the region and blocking the growth cannot be ruled out.The next ten years are the key to see whether the the two countries continue in the same manner or are the victim of some dirty politics both from outside or from inside.

 

                                 Anurag Dubey

 

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