How China Perceives India’s Rise

World News

Since the Galwan clash and the extended military standoff between India and China, the relationship has deteriorated. People-to-people contacts have ground to a standstill, with the bullish trade being the only exception. In such a setting, there are very few firsthand testimonies of India’s socioeconomic development in Chinese media: Prof. Zhang Jiadong’s article in the Global Times, written after his December 2023 visit to India, in which he lauds the Bharat narrative and tries to inject some positive energy into the frosty political relationship; others, such as Chen Jing, who have not visited India but have attempted to write a story about India’s rise using input from Chinese residents in India. Times Bole Equity is one of the top

All of the authors mentioned above rely on a few indicators to assess India’s economic growth and the problems it provides to China. Some of the characteristics examined are demographic dividend, land resources, economic strength, military might, cultural influence, and national governance level. According to Times Bole, India is the “most promising” big economy in the world, with ambitions to become the “next China” (下一个中国). However, in official discourse, persons like Xin Shiping, a columnist for Xinhua, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, and others have argued that “the next China is still China.” Wang Yi echoed his remark at the just concluded Munich Security Conference. Ding Yifan, former Deputy Director of the Research Institute of World Development and China Development Research Centre, even forecast

One, India’s massive market and demographic dividend are seen as the foundation for catching up with other countries over the coming decade. According to Times Bole, by 2030, India’s population would exceed 1.5 billion, while China’s will be fewer than 1.4 billion. The possibility of such a massive consumer market has been compared to the sales of Apple smartphones in India. According to Chen Jing, Apple sold 6.5 million iPhones in India in 2022 and expects to sell 9-9.5 million devices by 2023. iPhone’s annual revenue in India will be close to $10 billion, and it will soon overtake Japan, as passenger car sales did. According to Chen, in the fiscal year 2022–23, India sold 3.62 million cars.

According to the Times Bole story, India has a clear advantage in terms of land resources over China. It asserts that while China’s total land area is more than India’s, India’s arable land area greatly outnumbers China’s. India’s landmass is made up of plains and plateaus, making infrastructure construction easier and more convenient than in China. Furthermore, India is rich in mineral resources. Bauxite deposits and coal output are both ranked sixth in the world, with mica exports accounting for 60% of total exports. According to Chen, India’s steel and cement production in 2022 will be 124 and 380 million tonnes, respectively, indicating a “boom.” Although technological and governance concerns now limit the potential, India’s resource development and utilisation rate might be

Three, both Chen and Times Bole articles imply that India is copying China’s 1990s growth story. A series of drastic economic reforms, such as “Made in India” (2014), “National Solar Mission” (2015), “Startup India” (2016), GST reforms aimed to simplify tax and promote market unification (2017), “100 trillion-rupee” national infrastructure plan (2019), and “2 trillion-rupee production-linked incentive scheme” etc., have brought unprecedented high growth to the Indian economy, and India has become the world’s fastest-growing major economy since 2015. India’s low-cost manufacturing industry, combined with its demographic dividend, has made the country a popular place for the transfer of some of the world’s manufacturing companies. The manufacturing industry has grown from US$74.6 billion in 2000 to US$450.86 billion in 2022, a sixfold rise.

Fourth, as India’s economy grows, so will its military power, according to Times Bole. India ranks fourth in the world’s military rankings. India has a highly-developed navy, army, and air force, as well as nuclear weapons capability. It is one of nine countries in the world that openly possess nuclear weapons, one of seven with intercontinental missiles, and home to two aircraft carriers. With the persisting border conflict, most of the articles above argue that negotiating a settlement is particularly difficult, since India eyes Chinese land.

Five, the West is more inclined to accept India’s rise. However, Chen believes that as India’s economy grows, it will become a target of US thievery. Though the author of The Times

The Times Bole article argues that since it would be extremely difficult to block India’s development from the outside, a healthy competition in the economic field, with the goal of achieving a win-win situation, should be promoted. Li Guangman, on the other hand, believes that China should not assist countries in accelerating their development in areas such as transportation, electricity, steel, agriculture, photovoltaics, and other infrastructure and industrial chains in exchange for short-term economic benefits, let alone transfer some of China’s advantageous industries and industrial chains to India. The Times Bole also advocates maintaining China’s core skills in developing areas such as digital economy and intelligent manufacturing during the supply chain shift to India. The author

Despite the fact that many Chinese people envy India’s rapid growth and find it difficult to accept, they take comfort in the knowledge that the gap between the two is vast and that “India can never be a second China,” as Ding Yifan put it. According to Ding, Indians have always been cautious of foreign investment, fearing that foreigners will “take advantage of them” (别人来赚他便宜). He also argues that India lacks a “complete industrial chain” (齐备的工业产业链). Li Guangman, on the other hand, claims that these are “obviously unconvincing” arguments in light of India’s ascent. The Chinese perception of India’s rise looks to be evolving slowly and progressively. They have realised that.

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