Tuesday, December 6, 2022
HomeOpinionLesson from Ladakh — India & China were both rising together until...

Lesson from Ladakh — India & China were both rising together until China just raced away

China is different now, might think India is ‘arrogant’ for pretending parity. Ladakh stand-off should be a wake-up call on what’s real, not illusory, power.

Text Size:

Speaking at an Indian Express ‘adda’ last week, S. Jaishankar, the external affairs minister, reportedly told his audience the following about recent India-China summit meetings: “These were conversations about, we are rising, you are rising, we are going to be among the major powers of the world. We are both civilisation states which will make it into the fourth industrial revolution… And we happen to be rising approximately in the same sort of parallel timeframe.”

Such a storyline began three decades ago, of two Asian giants rising, and it does not need Jaishankar’s calibre or knowledge of China to realise that the line is well past its sell-by date. China has outstripped India on every front, and now seeks dominance on the continent. The power imbalance is evident on every metric, and is growing. China now challenges yesterday’s sole superpower, while India finds its zone of influence challenged, if not constrained. Yes, both countries are rising in a “parallel timeframe”, but given the scale of relative success, that means little.

If India and China rising together has indeed been posited in conversations with Xi Jinping, one could well guess how a power-player like the Chinese president might have viewed the message. Beijing’s position today is not what it was in 2010, when Manmohan Singh and his counterpart, Wen Jiabao, said in a joint statement: “There is enough space in the world for the development of both India and China and, indeed, enough areas for India and China to cooperate”. India’s subsequent under-performance, even as China has accumulated strength and influence, has increased the power imbalance. China is the world’s leading manufacturer, its largest merchandise exporter, and has taken the lead with frontier technologies, many of which have military uses. We are confronted with a very different China. Pretending parity is therefore to invite a rap on the knuckles.

Also read: India in Ladakh is breaking ‘China is invincible’ myth. Pentagon needs to catch up

It is instructive, in this context, to read in the retired diplomat Rajiv Dogra’s latest book, India’s World: How Prime Ministers Shaped Foreign Policy, the reference to what Liu Shaoqi, Chinese president at the time of the 1962 war, told Sri Lanka’s Felix Bandaranaike: That the conflict was to “demolish India’s arrogance and illusions of grandeur”. Consider, against that backdrop, Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Lok Sabha last year: “Whenever I talk of Jammu and Kashmir, PoK and Aksai Chin come under it and we will die for it.” Those who know the ground reality might dismiss this as grandstanding. In Beijing, it could well have been seen as India getting “arrogant” again.

In The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Paul Kennedy looked at military conflict in the midst of economic change, and at “the interaction between economics and strategy”. The issue as he saw it was a country’s rise or fall not in war but in peacetime, and not as an absolute measure but relative to other powers. Going by Jaishankar’s comments, Kennedy’s well-worn argument is what India may have overlooked in its interactions with China — if indeed “two countries rising together” was presented as the contextual reality.

Fortunately, whatever has gone on in talks with Xi, India has not sat idle. It has addressed the power imbalance with China through greater engagement with other countries. It has improved its border infrastructure by boring tunnels for all-weather road access to Ladakh, throwing bridges across the Brahmaputra in the Northeast, and building multiple routes for logistical flexibility at the contested border. Regrettably, in both Kargil and now, the army did not wake up before territory was lost. To be sure, India’s military is not what it was in 1962. But its focus is on avoiding further loss of territory while leaving the rest to diplomacy — with little result.

A strong military cannot be built with niggardly budgets. It also needs manufacturing prowess and greater technological capabilities. Those become more difficult if its human development indicators and per capita income rank India in the bottom third of countries. The border stand-off and the uncertainties that come with it should be a wake-up call on what makes for real rather than illusory power.

By Special Arrangement with Business Standard.

Also read: How Depsang Plains is new catchword in India-China standoff & why Rajnath not talking about it


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. You are gonna finish soon just wait and watch, you chinese bat eaters tell your shin jin pig what his name i don’t care. He Did a very very big mistake to underestimate the power of bravo india. You have a bad army they don’t have war experience , and your one child policy making them looser in war type conditions , even now your soldiers are getting sick in high altitude of ladakh mountains. They can’t survive in -50° temperature. I just laugh on you chinese others country’s territory eaters.

  2. Totally one-sided article, except for a few lines towards the end. The very fact that this kind of an article is printed in a reputed website like The Print, reassures me that my country is not same as CCP run China. I am proud of India, where freedom of speech flourishes.

  3. You want to compare India and China
    In India you can write any rubbish typically like the above one on any dark media and you simply get away with it. Cranky people like me can comment on it and express our views as long as they are not profanity

    In China
    You will have to surrender your dignity (if there is something left) to CCP for the rest of your life.

    My advise:
    First : Get a life!
    Second:Compare India with US, Aus, UK, Canada and sound sane and reasonable.
    Last: Don’t you dare compare my country to an evil regimen and sell ourselves to your anti-national propagandist? I could see a few around here in the comment box.

    • ‘Compare India with US, Aus, UK, Canada and sound sane and reasonable.’

      India would be bottom of the scale in such a comparison !!!

      India comes bottom on most indices : healthcare, literacy, women’s safety, safety of minorities, nutrition, sanitation….

      Add to that Indian features like caste system and communalism.

      I suggest that you cut out your fake Hindu nationalism and be realistic.

    • What dignity is there in a citizen’s life in India ? How many bribes we have to pay to government departments – for building sanction plans, water connection, electricity connection, driving license, house sale registration. Most of it corruption at municipality and state government level. Even RTI act is amended to remove powes of citizens in a democracy. And how many years or decades do we have to spend for court cases. In police stations the politically powerful are rarely punished. Police constables demand a small bribe of at least Rs 200 for approving your passport.

      Why compare with White countries. It makes sense to compare with an Asian country China as it is a large country with large population and was similar to India in terms of poverty and illiteracy in the 70’s. Though our governance models are different there must be something that the Chinese must be doing right to become an economic power in 20-30 years. We could learn at least something from them as far as poverty alleviation and economic development is concerned. Even though they are our enemy.

  4. 🙂hardly any lessons drawn. Wasted time and space in praising China and discrediting India.
    Following are the lessons which can be drawn out of Indo sino conflict:-
    Lesson No 1.
    India needs light tank say 30 – 35 tons akin to K9 Vajra and also other categories of tr veh on same chassis for this new front opened. Make in India with JV / DRDO efforts should be taken up earliest.
    Lesson No 2.
    Apart from developing synergy within 3 services. CDS ought to think of developing inter arms synergy to incl restructuring few units with Armd sqns as well as Mech Coys integral to it. In other words raising few permanent Combat Comds for dply in Eastern Laddakh.
    Lesson No 3.
    Expedite raising of Strike Corps at P……h and also start working on raising another Strike Corps against China cause you can’t trust Chinks… it’s as simple.
    Lesson No 4.
    Need to have Gen Offrs from all 3 services to participate in formulation of foreign policy with our neighbors. We have trusted ability of beurocracy for long enough, they need to have few soldiers by their side as think tanks.
    & Lesson No 5.
    As a soldier we must make an endeavour to check credentials of the source of info, before believing it blindly. “Print” is known for being financed by communists. Pl do check. All it is doing is to lower morale of the country and soldiers. Psy Ops is already on..

    • Thank you for your Hindu bravado. You have a military solution based on hardware purchase. The writer has pointed out India cannot afford it. The Indian economy was 1/5 of China, it went down after demonetisation, and Covid has finished it. The govt. does not have money to pay the states, so it cannot afford to defend the border.

  5. Massive industrialization is needed for faster economic progress. But this has enormous social and environmental mpacts for a population of our size. Can our democratic system handle it?

    60-70% of India’s population is still engaged in agriculture. In China they brought it down to around 25% . Imagine the social upheaval in rural areas of China in a timeframe of just 20 years.

    • Massive industrialiastion needs universal literacy. The Hindu caste system bars that. The govt. has been happy promoting casteism and communalism,
      Congress promoted that without they being its ideology; casteism and communalism are the BJP’s ideology, and it will continue with what it knows best. The Hindu mentality is to declare some as untouchable, and they want to destroy the livelihood of non-Hindus.

      • China and Japan did not achieve high literacy before embarking on industrial isation. So literacy is not a must. But respect for physical labour and pride in doing hard physical work is a must for industrialisation. You can’t make a good quality part or component in a factory until the worker is very skilled with his hands.

        In India generally upper caste Hindus eschew physical work. The caste system enforced that kind of division. Whereas in Western countries or Oriental countries or even Muslim countries this kind of lack of respect for physical labour is not so much entrenched as in Hinduism. So in that sense Indian elites are not able to climb up in manufacturing because they do not understand or even acknowledge the difficulties of workers who do physical work.

  6. Ninan says the Army bungled in both Kargil and now. And I believe that is correct. Along with poltical accountability of the govt, the army should be held accountable. And the generals who were caught napping should be immediately court martialed

    Btw, on a separate note. Ninan, you mention in 2010 as if India and China were more or less equivalent and in the last ten years they have raced ahead.

    Not true. Better comparison would be 1990 when China’s economy and per capita income was slightly more than India’s.

  7. What a shallow writing by an experienced journalist! India is democracy. It cannot same push for economic development as an autocratic China. Can It? There in lies the rub. No point in wondering why India did not economically progress at the same pace as China. No doubt, our belated ending of licence-permit raj and liberalisation of economy is substantially the cause for India losing the march. Even in this renewed awareness of threat that China poses in defence, trade and foreign policy, India has to work for itself under the constraints of being a democratic republic. That doesn’t mean that I would prefer a prosperous India under another Indira Gandhi-line autocrat. Now and then, I want to bark too!

    • Other countries are democratic and developed, so don’t come out with fake argument that democracy stifled India.

      We are moving from democracy to dictatorship, and the economy and society are getting worse.

      The correct conclusion is Hindus have limited capabilities in governance. They are mired in casteism and communalism.

    • Are we a real democracy.
      We are actually a fragile socialist democracy.

      Democratic countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan etc progressed fast economically. But their populations are smaller, sizes small and their people are homogeneous. Easy to unite people.

      Our democracy is having it’s own challenges. We are a diverse country and there is so much heterogeneity. We are going to be stuck as a socialist democracy for a long time with slow economic growth.

  8. We in India need to talk less, work more. Empty vessels make more noise. We can start talking after we have truly arrived. Better to keep quiet and bide our time.

    • Absolutely correct. Indians think they are entitled to be a superpower on the basis of having a large population. They do not believe it needs hard work and good governance.

  9. Sir even a non political commentator like you doesn’t talk about POPULATION CONTROL MEASURES .

    ALL OLD COMMENTATORS are caught in a time wrap which ignores population and jihadist tendencies not being dealt with a true reason for INDIA’s standing today.

    HINDUS believe in education and science and prosperity hence encouragement to positive tendencies should form a basis of future policies.

    • ‘HINDUS believe in education and science and prosperity ‘

      Don’t make vain claims opposite to evidence.

      Hindus have obstructed education due to the caste system.

      Hindus promote gomutra and gobar. Modi said Ganesha proves Indians invented surgery. What science ?

      Prosperity ? Hindus organise communal riots to win elections, they burn shops and loot. They are destructive by nature.

  10. Those Indians who highlight the obvious strength of China vis-a-via India – are they doing this out is national interest or Modi hatred. Here the questions for the other. China may have developed faster than India, does that mean India should keep quiet when they usher up our land? Is chest thumping not allowed for a weaker opponent ? Should india adopt a authoritarian political system to develop faster? Should India grow by disregarding Internationally accepted IP norms? Should Modi government let black money run a parallel economy?

    • ‘India should keep quiet when they usher up our land? ‘

      You can ask Modi that, he says he is chowkidar of the Hindus.

      ‘Is chest thumping not allowed for a weaker opponent ? ‘

      No, it should be discouraged as it breeds delusions. Work hard instead.

      ‘Should india adopt a authoritarian political system to develop faster?’

      It is going in that direction – but it will not develop due to the caste system.

      ‘Should Modi government let black money run a parallel economy?’

      99.9% of the 1000 notes were returned. So did it end corruption ? BJP fellows were caught printing 2000 notes.

  11. Oh please wake up ppl. The author is correct.
    Try to take in fresh perspectives and views . India is decades behind China economically. Don’t believe the local media garbage.

  12. Harsh but true, and we haven’t even skimmed the top of the multitude of reasons why India lags in economic performance, convoluted Labour laws, drawn out Land acquisition timelines, red tapism, extreme environmental laws which China does not follow, lack of state autonomy when it comes to infrastructure projects, farmer appeasement through loan waivers for votes causing big national banks to default, reservation scheme so deserved have to either leave India for equal chances or stay and get a job of low calibre compared to what they deserved, vote bank religious politics causing communal conflicts and thus instability, and of course a major lack of energy, transportation, logistics infrastructure, and many other reasons have caused India’s economic underperformance but what’s worse is that people are okay with such an underperformance because we are used to mediocrity and thus don’t have larger aspirations

  13. .An excellent analyses We had a similar relationship with Pakistan and were hectoring them to come to terms with the changed reality of India having outstripped them on various parameters of economic, social and military developments and abjure the old dreams of Indonesia- Pakistan parity. But, unfortunately vis-a-vis China we are adopting the old mindset of Pakistan in disregard of the ground realities. The right approach is to pursue one’s objectives diligently and assiduously without lecturing the adversary or even telling him that your objective is to catch up with him or even to outstrip him. Speaking out of term or out of reach can sometimes be a self-hurting exercise which, as garrulous or demagogic Indian, often indulge in and need to curb.

    • You captured it beautifully. We may be superior to Pakistan economically and militarily but we should not be vain about it. We need to set our goals higher and quietly work towards it. There is too much chest thumping from deluded people in our country.

  14. I see most of the Hindus are in a denial mode. There are some who just write abuse about the author. Some Hindus put on a brave face and draw satisfaction that India is a democracy – forgetting Kashmir is ruled with the army, and fascists are in government.

    Others Hindus seek refuge for India’s failing by claiming India is spiritual and operates on a a different plane, the law of dharma.

    But none can actually refute the author. No Hindu is willing to address the causes for India lagging behind and coming in the bottom 30 in social indicators : the caste system and communalism. This is so much part and parcel of Hindu culture that the Hindu cannot even think about it, let alone admit it and find a solution.

  15. One should understand the basic difference, India may be slow in the race but it’s growth is steady and more importantly in democratic manner where people enjoy the real life, unlike China where everything be under government svanner with too little liberty for people. Let us just not undermine ourselves by comparing and praising the growth and advancement of China etc etc. India now can challenge every nation that may endanger the nation’s interests.

    • You are trying to put on a brave face. ‘India may be slow in the race but it’s growth is steady and more importantly in democratic manner where people enjoy the real life’

      Ninan has shown the reality. Can we tone down the Hindu boasting like India is the vishwa guru, and all the world is in awe of the Hindus after Modi came etc ?

      As for democratic manner, Kashmir is ruled by the gun, and govt. is planning to put minorities in camps, so how are you different from China ? You cannot claim technological progress nor human rights about India.

      • You go on banging about caste abolition as if a diktat issued from Delhi will end this. Yes, focus on quality universal education for all.
        Btw, does Sri Lanka oe Pakistan or Bangladesh have a caste system? Why are there nor like South Korea or Japan, or even Singapore? What about West Asia?
        Monopoly of CCP is instrumental in the rapid growth of China — as in fact all East and SE Asia.
        For every proposed action in India, whether to build a road, a highway, an institute of learning, a hospital, a port, a train station….there will be three dozen opponents and it will take 20 years just to acquire the land!

        • ‘Yes, focus on quality universal education for all.’

          Correct. But caste mentality does not allow one to focus on quality education for all. Graded inequality is the basic tenet of society.

          ‘Btw, does Sri Lanka oe Pakistan or Bangladesh have a caste system?’

          These are countries whose people have been part of India’s culture, so they have absorbed some of the caste mentality. But it is not so rigid, so they can hope one day to come up. How can India hope for that when that is the fundamental belief of existence ?

  16. I commented earlier but it was erased. How poor is India when it comes to see its image in daylight. Anyway India is not going to achieve greatness the way it is

  17. It is just wrong to compare India and China. Do you compare two companies when one has 6 times the revenue and faster growth rate than he other?

  18. Bang on. For anybody in the tech world would tell you about Chinese advancements (in deep learning, genetics, consumer tech, etc) over the last 10 years and how a lot of Indian entrepreneurs learn from them apart from being recipients of funding that comes with lessons on scale. This cannot be matched by US, European or Israeli partnerships. Recognizing one’s own standing is likely to accelerate our chances of being on even keel and be respected by our competitors for own true abilities. Sincerely hope we get out this rhetoric underway that is impacting important progresses we make as a country. Else, the gauntlet is again thrown to the generations after and it may be too late.

    • Absolutely true.
      We were chest thumping about becoming a software superpower in the late nineties and early 2000’s. Quietly China has gone ahead of us in software esp smartphones, gaming and e-commerce even though their initial strength was in electronics hardware. Not just China even South Korea has climbed up in smartphone software. Most Indian engineers were content to get jobs in MNC’s in India or go to USA.

      Our next generation of young people coming out of colleges must be careful and see through what the political class is selling them and keeping them busy on socially divisive issues and news bombardment.

  19. India and china development are different. We invested on people to live there life where china people worked for the china government company growth. Check who is happiest people chinese or indians. We have bad assumption that who is wealth and technology rich will win the war. check all history, technology and strength alone not needed to win a war. Very big people failed in war. Indian are patriot then chinese. It’s not an easy task for china to win the war. Current government taking china as example. That model will not work in India.

    • Kissinger had stated that India is the biggest non-important country. The article is correct : China has pulled way ahead.

      ‘Check who is happiest people chinese or indians.’ You are trying to put on a brave face.

      In a recent survey of the happiest and unhappiest countries, the top were the Nordic countries, NZ, UK etc., but India came in the bottom 20. So don’t fabricate. India is a country where everyone is trying to escape – including the Hindus.

    • What a masterpiece of a article. Criticism is constructive , We as a nation need to do allot more to identify what makes a country’s border. Sadly British India has left modern India with a monumental mess. This BJP led government is the only one in years to have taken strides otherwise China would be in Uttarakhand by now. We will need to buckle in and take on the Chinese fist on. We have nuclear power we should use it if need be. The CCP will collapse at some point soon.

      What choice do we have ?

      • The Great Himalayan Range is a natural border against PLA in Uttarakhand and much of Himachal. Threat is mainly in Ladakh both southeast and northeast where there are several passes and gaps there which the Chinese are familiar with and have occupied since 1962.

    • haha nice joke you have written my friend talking about investing for people in India really look at the alraming overpopulation rate look at the literacy rate lower compared to countries like bangladesh look at the farmers still killing themselves look at healthcare still very poor look at the quality of education our future generations are getting India stands nowhere in the international education platforms international exams like MENSA math science olympiads India doesnt rank nowhere in Top ten way behind Vietnam and Philippines even they’re doing better our society is corrupt from the core our motherland gave us so much but what we have done is nothing what the countries like chinese have done for it motherland and people Infians are incapable of doing that high literacy rate better education system advanced infrastructure you still think that Indians are superior and have a better life what kind of delusional life you’re living if India and Indians are so capable and advanced educated hard working like they will never dared to raise there eyebrow against India

  20. Higher military budgets, dont mean they exhibit supremacy on the neighbouring countries and intimidate them.

    Chinese arrested their democracy under an authoritarian and aristocratic ruler and say they have raised past India. What for? If their people cannot raise their voice against the govt? What for, if their press do not have the freedom of speech? What for if any of the chinese journalist cannot write an article as you wrote here? What for if basic human rights are violated? Dont get carried away by their development under Hitler like systems. Please dont even compare such a kimd of growth with India

    Im proud India is democratic and every one here has a right to voice their opinions. Chinese dont have that, and all the articles you read, analyse and understand about them is only through their official mouth piece

  21. Kudos for writing Blunt truth, when china is and was busy removing all the road blocks for its public and private enterprises the Indian govt. both UPA and NDA were busy milking dry Indian companies via red tapism and tax terrorism. Just that the current govt. has doubled up on tax terrorism meanwhile mothing just the oposite.
    Any guesses if the current abyss that India finds itself in is hand of God or self inflicted? China and the world respects power. PERIOD.

  22. There must be enough truth in what’s said in the article. But don’t dare suggest Rahul Gandhi was the solution, for god ‘s sake.

  23. Mr. Ninan please understand that your this write up saw light because you are an Indian and you choose to publish it in an on line forum based in India. Just think the opposite. You are a Chinese, you publish a write up criticizing the Chinese government. Most probably, your work won’t be published. In case its published, most probably you will wake up the next morning in a jail. That is my point. Yes, India has many many many drawbacks. Still you can criticize your administration, abuse your Prime Minister or President, tweet whatever you wish, distribute sweets when you were defeated in a cricket match , and can even raise ‘tukde tukde ‘ slogans. No one will mind you. You can go home and sleep with your wife and children. May be we are a little poor, have some socio economic imbalances . Still we are happy that we breath the air of freedom. Yes, you are saying about the economical advance China has made over India. No worries…We will wait a little more time to become economically successful. Till then we will make happy ourselves with whatever we have. You continue with your writings.

  24. We can have proper knowledgeable economic plan and execute it meticulously so that we can achieve higher scales of economy. For this it is not necessary to compare with other countries. Economics is not about elections or rhetorics.

  25. Abolish Income Tax.Collect Tax From Every Citizen’s Spend.India Has The Distinction Of Its Own Countrymen Digging The Grave For The Nation.Get Rid Of The Enemies Within.Mercilessly At That.Ensure Economic Thrust Is From Bottom As Well As Top.Let Us Not Tolerate Nonsense from Whichever Country It Is.

  26. This is not a rhetorical question but a genuine one to those knowledgable about the period of China’s economic rise. Was there anyone in the top echelons of Indian politics who warned that one day China would use its ecomonic might to develop its military strength and that India should at least attain growth that was broadly comparable?

  27. Every time people compare India and China they talk about 1962, please note this is neither 1962 nor India has a PM who was easily fooled by the Chinese in 50s. Problem with India is not that India is a poor country, it’s a country with majority of corrupt people. Secondly, we are so stuck with our frivolous internal issues that important time, energy and money could not be used in important things like developing infrastructure, which we are focusing today, we should have done it in early 90s specially for the purpose to improve our defense. Which Chinese did and today they show eyes to whole world. Still even if dragon feels elephant is acting arrogant again, it won’t take risk of teaching lesson this time, as unlike 1962, in 21st century both dragon and elephant can release fire and burn the other. So it’s a game of patience and resilience now and certainly we have both.

  28. This time suruaat china ne ki hai. So they need to pay big price. This is fight between dharm and adharm. We are as aam janta ready for secrifice and long haul.

  29. Instead of making progress and keeping good relations with neighbors, India is arrogant and has annoyed every neighbor. India has encroached Kashmir, Nepal and Bangladesh. In fact the mind set of India and its media should change now, instead of war India should prefer peace and love.

    • Since the BJP came to power, it has gone to the Hindu head – they have become delusional. Modi went around the world, largely posing with people of India origin, making out the whole world is an awe of Hindus and India. Till the beating from China, they were truly deluded. After the beating, they are looking for saving their face. Modi is a liability for India, but having believed in Modi, the Hindus have no where to go.

  30. All this rubbish opinion should be banned and the authors castrated. We Do not care about China economy jack . In the end if Cccp China gets to far and India finds herself in the losing side, We will just end Ccco china civilisation with armageddon. Pm Modi once said, We will not lose an inch of our territory, and our nuclear arsenal is not for show. OUR BRAHMOS MISSILES HAVE BEIJING, CHENGDU , SHANGHAI IJ LINE OF SIGHT.

    • Fact check – Bhahmos range is approx 600 km as far as can be ascertained and the Chinese cities mentioned in your comment seem to be much further away – beyond or around 3000 km . For the record China’s Western command’s area is the least populated part of China, whilst that command is closer to our major North Indian cities than one imagines.

  31. Thank you Mr. Ninan, for a sobre analysis. Indians, especially Hindus, have been delusional and BJP Hindus have imagined being a superpower is an entitlement. In fact, they talk as if India is second only to the US. Delusions lead to arrogance.

    Mr. Ninan has clearly pointed out India’s under performance and compared it with China’s super performance : ‘India’s subsequent under-performance, even as China has accumulated strength and influence, has increased the power imbalance. China is the world’s leading manufacturer, its largest merchandise exporter, and has taken the lead with frontier technologies, many of which have military uses. We are confronted with a very different China. Pretending parity is therefore to invite a rap on the knuckles.’

    Even before the BJP, India’s performance was like in the Olympics – triers but not medal winners. Mr. Ninan has not gone into the details of India’s underachievement but he has hinted : ‘A strong military cannot be built with niggardly budgets. It also needs manufacturing prowess and greater technological capabilities. Those become more difficult if its human development indicators and per capita income rank India in the bottom third of countries. The border stand-off and the uncertainties that come with it should be a wake-up call on what makes for real rather than illusory power.’

    I would like to explain why India’s human development indicators and per capita income rank India in the bottom third of countries. This is of course the crux and we have to ask the question why – and then seek solutions. The reason is simple : the Hindu caste system, and its belief in graded inequality. Amartya Sen has stated that all countries that became developed became fully literate and then developed – it is not the other way round as Indians imagine (become developed first and then educated). He added that the Brahmanical mindset has kept education for the few, and the caste Hindus have no urge to have everyone educated. The Hindu mindset is ‘the cake is small, I must keep it to myself’. Unlike other societies, the educated Hindu does not think ‘if I educate everyone, the cake will grow’.

    The Congress took steps for reducing untouchability, and it brought reservation to give some opportunities, but it never did anything to erase the caste system from the Hindu thinking. The reason is because Congress was full of Brahmins also – they are not fascist, but they felt no compulsion to erase the caste system. This should have been done by education from school level. Caste was a taboo subject, and Hindus pretended by not talking about it, the problem is not there.

    The caste system is a unique millstone round India’s neck, it makes India non-competitive against other nations. China and other countries are not weighed down by such a system.

    With the RSS-BJP, the desire is to recreate a society with the Vedic caste system. Golwalkar boasted about how the world can come to India and learn how to order society with four castes. The Yogi said in a NDTV interview that the caste system is very good for ordering society, but he was against casteism (by that, he meant he was against reservation).

    Instead of erasing the caste system, the RSS-BJP has been trying to ‘unite the Hindus’ by fanning communalism and anti-Muslim hate. The Hindus can never be united due to the caste system which the RSS-BJP staunchly believes in. ‘Uniting Hindus’ by fighting Muslims leads to other dangers, like internal conflict and break up of India. Now the concern is not whether India can match China and be a superpower, but whether it will join the list of countries that broke up. I would say with the RSS-BJP’s grip on Hindus, the odds are for break up in the next 50 years.

    Very few Hindus would be honest enough to admit this and accept the need for corrective action. Ninan has explained India has under performed and is delusional, but he has not gone into the reason. I have given the reason, and Hindus must reflect if casteism and communalism is what they want most. If so, forget about matching China or anyone else.

    • I don’t agree.
      It is not about Hindus and their caste system.

      How Muslim and Buddhist countries around us are also not developed – like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka . Forget about Nepal and Bhutan which are mountainous countries.

      The entire region of South Asia has lagged socially as well as economically. Why? Same could be said of South East Asia also. In these 2 regions only Singapore stands out as the lone bright spot.

      Singapore is one of the least corrupt nations in the world as per the Transparency International corruption index. So is it corruption that is cause of lack of development? But as per the index, China is as corrupt as India !

      If I were to hazard a guess – I would say a nation must have high and clear ambitions and so also it’s people. And then work towards realising those ambitions. Just empty pride or corruption-free is not going to help. Ambition should be matched with specific goals – so a relentless focus on getting any work or project completed with efficiency and quality. Of course if that country can do it with very less corruption that would be the ideal progress for it’s people.

      • Thanks Sonam for presenting a counter argument, you have given it well.

        However, I would say the caste system is a factor and it is unique to India. Others can hope to come up, I can’t see how we can even hope when graded inequality is a fundamental tenet of the society.

    • You are being generous in offering fifty years before India breaks up. Sadly, I see that happening sooner, if the current regime gets re-elected in 2024 and 2029. Sad, because the concept and existence of India is beneficial for the world.

      • Well, I don’t wish for India’s disintegration, that would be burning my home.

        However, it is my duty to explain if groups are persecuted, there will be internal chaos, the economy will collapse and there will be external pressures.

        Khushwant Singh had written a book in 2010 called The End of India. Throughout history, countries have come and gone. In the recent years, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and others. S. Asia is 3 countries, no reason it cannot end up as more. It all depends on good governance. If you take a multi ethnic, multi linguistic and multi religious state and try to impose domination of a segment over the rest, that is a recipe for disintegration. Many Hindus today do not understand that.

        In 1953, Nehru had written gloomily that unless Hindus change their outlook, India was doomed. He realised that India’s fate lies with Hindus, not others, and if Hindus opt for aggressive communalism, that will unravel India. That is what we see today.

    • Social development should ideally precede economic development.

      But it does not mean that a country that has a large economy necessarily has good social indicators – maybe other factors like large population could skew the indicator.

      China’s literacy rate in 1990 was 78% and now it is 96%
      India literacy rate is now 74%, in 1991 it was 53%.

      Human development index : China is 85 we are 130. Interestingly Sri Lanka at 71 is better than China on this index !

      • You are right. Kerala is one state which has shown the benefit of social development. They have even curbed population growth without using a stick. Their response to Nipah, 2018 flood, and Covid shows social cohesion between Hindus, Christians and Muslims, and trust in govt..

  32. Good points but one thing China should remember we have some unique personalities ruling India who would not shy to press few buttons if China crosses a certain threshold and the race will have to start again . But this time world will not help and support China as CCP has shown its true colour and has proven that a strong China is a danger to the world.

    • some unique personalities ruling India – yes, but Sanghis are cowards and will shy away when they see death. They only fight with minorities.

  33. All the more reason for Indians of all religions to put their differences aside and stand united with today’s Government elected with a resounding majority.
    This is a very crucial time in history.
    Get rid of the anti-nationals. It is evident who they are.
    United we stand & survive. Divided we fall & fail.

    • ‘Get rid of the anti-nationals. It is evident who they are.’

      Yes, it is the RSS. Get rid of them and all their affiliates. Then erase caste system and communalism.

  34. It is one thing to give a scholarly talk to think tanks in New York or Washington. Quite another to have a bare knuckle conversation with the dragon in its lair, laying fibre optic cables upto the last point of intrusion.

  35. India and were rising together, right but China raced ahead in terms of area since inception when it invaded and occupied Tibet and Aksai Chin. Till 1987-90 both were economically same, but then China went much more ahead.

  36. We need to stop acting like we are “super power”. 90% of our people are struggling to meet their ends. China cares about business. Partnering with China is the best defence and economics. If one think about this leaving behind hyper-nationalism it’ll be clear

  37. I think this article lacks wisdom as the situation in Ladakh was unwanted after the pandemic.China knows it now,so does the world.Speaking of war,I guess small sectors might open up but big powers use deterrence to reach their objective.Its unfortunate to compare Indias industrial output with China as have already started 2 decades later in bringing industrial revolution.And speaking of Shah’s arrogance if Xi gets offended if Amit speaks about getting Aksai Chin back and so he decides to teach India a lesson for its arrogance,then China have clearly lost the 5th generation war as long shoulder are required to sustain and win a 5th Generation war.China a physiological warfare capabilities have also been a laughing stock recently.What I feel is that winter from Oct 15 to April 15 will decide the face of the standoff ongoing and we will also get stronger interms of fiscal ability as we are going into the recovery phase and a potential vaccine for emergency usage approval may be there by year end there by taking away the pressure of CCS from the two problems india is facing today.

  38. CHINA Pumped in india TONS of money to buy lobbiysit and media space..this aryicle is amply demonstrates anti india tenracles of china..dowm pro china ninan, down pro china PRiNT

    • Immature Hindu reaction.

      The BJP pumped in tonnes of money to buy all the media and create delusions about a Hindu superpower. You should watch Republic Channel and be happy.

  39. As long as India is a democracy it can not catch up with China.
    It can not introduce meaningful reforms, labour laws bcs opposition will stall it one way or the other.
    Roads can not be buit, land reforms can not be introduced. Too many free bees, legal hurdles. Appeasement policies towards China n towards minorities.

    China has no such compulsions, they have killer instinct to meat their goals.

    • Those are not the reasons. India can never match anyone and will be in the bottom third of nations in all social indicators as Ninan mentioned. The reason is the Hindu caste system. Instead of erasing that, Hindu efforts are to ‘unite’ the Hindus through fanning conflict with Muslims (we can see that in your statement against minorities). You being a caste Hindu of course will not think of it.

      As for India being a democracy, that is only notionally. Kashmir is ruled by the gun, and the RSS-BJP wants to build the Nazi model for minorities (concentration camps). It got interrupted by Covid. So don’t try to ride on democracy when you do not believe in its values.

      • I’ve read your comments, you seem to foster hatred towards Hindus, as a matter of fact KB Singh is right the reason India lags behind in economic development is because of convoluted labour laws and long drawn out land acquisition period,
        Compare that to China, since China owns their state land almost completely they don’t have trouble for land acquisition, their labour laws and environmental regulations aren’t strict at all neither are they convoluted, it has nothing to do with the caste system except reservations, but reservations are also not the sole or big enough reason for India’s underperformance

        Indian Government needs to harness it’s majority and bring in Labour reform and Land reform laws while pressing for investment in education for future needs, that’s the way India will develop, if people keep on dwelling in hatred against Hindu and Muslims like you, India will never develop

      • You go on banging about caste abolition as if a diktat issued from Delhi will end this. Yes, focus on quality universal education for all.
        Btw, does Sri Lanka oe Pakistan or Bangladesh have a caste system? Why are there nor like South Korea or Japan, or even Singapore?

  40. Current economic performance does not give one confidence that we will be able to restore parity with China anytime soon. And in the absence of economic heft, grandstanding from Indian govt officials is embarrassing. I hope the govt girds up it’s loins and does some quality work on the economic front rather than concentrating on jailing critics or wasting time on headline management.

  41. India & China were both rising together until China just raced away. WHY ?? Where was the fourth pillar of Democracy ? Was it in the GODI of someone ?
    When the national interest is out sourced out side the country only a few benefit never the country.
    A strong military cannot be built with niggardly budgets. It also needs manufacturing prowess and greater technological capabilities. WHY DID WE NOT TALK OF IT FOR 70 years??

    • ‘A strong military cannot be built with niggardly budgets. It also needs manufacturing prowess and greater technological capabilities. WHY DID WE NOT TALK OF IT FOR 70 years??’

      For manufacturing and greater technological capabilities, we need universal education.

      Why did we not think of erasing the caste system and educating everyone in the last 70 years ? It was because of the vested interests of Brahmins and the caste system. It is even more entrenched now. They will murder people to maintain the system. And you have no problem supporting that.

    • There you go again with the 70 years question.

      Was not DRDO, ISRO, HAL, BARC all set up and made functional in last 70 years? Did we not invest and make missiles, space and atomic/nuclear technologies? Did we not attempt to create a fighter aircraft of our own Tejas? Did not our public sectors like BEL make originally designed electronic communication equipment for our forces? Many more examples are there…

      Our country made investments in defence R&D and manufacturing but we were severely limited because of inadequate economic growth.

    • Now you have the solution : Hindu fascism. Let us review the results after 10 years of it. Modi said he would give 60 years Congress development in 60 months. Did you get it ?

      • I don’t understand your hatred for Hindus, people like you who divide the masses are the reason why time is wasted on useless communal issues, tone your hatred down this is the 21st century not 6th century

        • I have no hatred of Hindu people. I am opposed to fascism. That happens to be entwined in india’s case only with Hindus. You need to call a spade a spade. India is sinking due to Hindu fascism, and you better get real and face it.

  42. Good economics is crucial. No society can sustain conflicts without having a robust domestic economy. Once we have the money we can put them into better tech instead of pensions for our retired soldiers. We must must must create enough wealth. Only then can we have a good defense. And while publicly many people make statements about parity between india and china, i am fairly certain that that is not the case with Foreign Ministry.

Comments are closed.