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[Opinion] China Rising; India Shining

Posted January. 28, 2006 04:08,   


The Himalaya Mountains separating China and India have likely prevented more than their share of wars between the two.

Relations between the two nations drastically worsened when India provided refuge to Dalai Lama in the aftermath of the 1959 Lhasa riots. Three years later, continuing border disputes precipitated the 1962 Sino-Indian War, and border tensions have occasionally flared between the two ever since.

The two neighbors have decided to put their past behind them, however, and declare a “strategic partnership.” India recently recognized Tibet as Chinese territory, a practical decision.

Just 20 years ago, China and India were poor agricultural countries, with per capita incomes of less than one dollar a day. Today, however, there is a huge gap between the two countries. One third of the total population in India still lives on less than a dollar a day, whereas only 13 percent do so in China. China’s exports reach $600 billion a year, six times more than India’s.

The main reasons why India is developing at a slower rate are lack of infrastructure, widespread corruption, excessive regulation, and the fact that more than half of Indian women are illiterate.

Nevertheless, India has recorded annual economic growth in the seven percent range for the last two years. Many economists forecast India will mimic the rapid economic growth that China has experienced over the past 20 years. And at the 2006 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, India is being called the “new China.”

“There has been much talk of China in Davos for the past two years. This year, we intend to give India an opportunity to voice its opinion,” said one forum official. India, unlike China, is a democracy. With its vast English-speaking population, it is also fast rising as a frontrunner in the IT industry.

The two countries have a combined population of 2.3 billion (China: 1.3 billion, India: 1.0 billion) totaling 39 percent of the world’s population. Moreover, the two countries are the fastest growing economies in the world. How should we deal with Chindia, or China and India? The world wonders. How about Korea?

Han Ki-heung, Editorial Writer, eligius@donga.com