November 15, 2006 14:55 IST
Former Ambassador to China CV Ranganathan is considered one of the foremost Indian experts on Sino-Indian relations. In the run up to the visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, Ranganathan engaged in a wide-ranging discussion with rediff.com readers on the issues that confront the two nations, and the road ahead.
For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript.
C.V.Ranganathan says, Hello, I am here to answer your questions. We got delayed due to traffic jam.
nisha asked, dont u think we are weak in Foreing Policy compared to China
C.V.Ranganathan answers, India is in a very good position as far as the international situation is concerned. Reasons for this are many. But the principal reason is that India has the potential to benefit greatly from the rapidly changing international situation from the 90's of the last century. Briefly put the fact that the USA, EU, Russia [Images], Japan [Images], the Association of the South East Asian states( ASEAN)and China- all major countries or groupings- see that good relations with India are desireable is proof that India is very well poised on the international stage. It is important that each compartment of India's relations with each of these is managed in a way that it does not affect any other compartment in an adverse manner. Viewed in this light India's foreign policy can be considered a success and is not weak compared to China.
siddharth asked, incase of an india china war, who do you think has the edge, considering all political and geo-political factors
C.V.Ranganathan answers, This question is wrongly posed and shows the mind set of pessimism. Eversince 1988 when former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi visited China-the first by an Indian prime minister for over 30 years, reflecting all that had gone wrong in India China relations-major decisions were taken by the leadership of the two countries that problems such as the boundary dispute would be solved only through the peaceful means and that both governments should promote all round relations between the two countries pending the solution of the boundary dispute. This is precisely has happened over the last nearly two decades. In a rapidly expanded relations trade greater measure of mutual understanding in the political strategic and military spheres have taken place. Confidence building measures which were put in place in 1993 and 96 and in 2005 have ensured that no untoward military incidents have taken place across the long India China border and that peace and tranquility has been maintained. A good summing up of the experience of the two sides in dealing with the boundary dispute over the last several decades is contained in the agreement signed in 2005 on the political parameters and guidelines which should govern the settlement of the boundary question. Both sides are very clear about the exent of mutual adjustments to the territorial claims which each side made. Therefore what is required is the translation of these principles into mutually acceptable terms. I might also add that the Chinese fully realize that the Indian defence forces of the 21st century are not only well equipped but fully capable of defending successfully India's vital interests in all the sectors. The high respect for the Indian defence forces is reinforced by frequent exchanges between the armed forces.
naveenm asked, Good Morning. China is trying to encircle us(India) by opening strategic bases in Burma and Pakistan , in the long run how they are going to affect our long term security. i
C.V.Ranganathan answers, Some of our strategic thinkers have often mentioned this aspect but I do not agree with this view point. To take the case of Burma first, I have participated in discussions where Chinese, Burmese and Indians were present in an exercise which has gone on for the last 5 years and the Burmese do not view themselves as an area of exclusive Chinese involvement. They have been very open in inviting India to participate infrastructure projects there. While India is doing a bit in this direction there is room for far greater involvement and investments by India. As far as Pakistan is concerned it would be an illusion to think that China will forsake Pakistan in the interest of its relations with India. Equally it is wrong to view each and every action that China takes visa vi Pakistan is aimed at damaging Indian interests. One should not forget that wherever China is actively engaged in our neighbourhood it is because of open invitations to do so by our neighbours.
shaan asked, helloo sir.....what is the scope of information technology in china.......nad how can find jobs of IT's students???
C.V.Ranganathan answers, While there is no doubt that the spread of the IT industry in China is perhaps wider than India, there is great admiration in China for the ability of the Indian IT industry to conceptualize and to put together projects in demand by the big endusers. Since many Indian IT majors are involved in China it should not be difficult to find a job in China if you are interested.
Sushma asked, Sir, what are the lessons India should learn from China?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, Many lessons that we can learn from China are perhaps intangible which have more to do with behaviour patterns. For instance from the time that reforms were initiated in China from the late 70's when employment opportunities vastly increased in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors, the enormous dedication displayed by each and every worker to enhancing productivity and the application to the work. This has in turn led to perfecting the technique of the mass scale production which we can emulate. The other area is that the leadership in China has been dedicated to putting in place the needed infrstructures for economic growth. We need to emulate this. On a more personal level it is important to emulate the considerate and humane behaviour of the Chinese with respect to one another. All this of course does not mean that the Chinese do not have problems but that is a separate discussion.
comdrxaoling asked, How does the local populace in Arunachal Pradesh view this entire episode. Do they want to be with India or China?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, There can be little doubt that the population in Arunachal Pradesh-sparse compared to the rest of India-are well integrated with India and will naturally want to remain in India at all costs. They are also fully aware of the manner in which Lamaist Bhuddism was treated in Tibet [Images] by China. The people of AP would also look to opportunities for exchanges in trade, tourism etc across the border with Tibet and this is another reason for wanting an early resolution of the boundary dispute.
PUNEET asked, Sir,is it possible for India and China to unite economically and can together become worlds strongest economy?And how?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, The parallel of the Indian and Chinese economies in the early years of the 21 st century has captured international attention and comparisons between India and China have become a growth industry. This reflects a recent phenomenon noticeable particularly in South East Asia where these countries look forward to leveraging the growing relations between India and China and their economic growth for their benefit. This offers a wider canvass than the purely India-China bilateral relations which both countries show an inclination to persue. However each country is bound to have its separate interest and the challenge is to see how policies can be pursued which will maximise the interests of both India and China as well as their neighbours in Asia.
Dilipraman asked, Mr.Amabassador, what will be the outcome of Jintao's visit? When will you call it a success?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, First a few words about President Hu Jintao. He is a representative of the fourth generation of the leadership in China since 1949. He is a product of the tragedies suffered by the Chinese suffered during the cultural revolution which lasted 10 years as also the beneficiary of the reform era from the late 70's. An experienced administrator as well as an imporatnt communist party functionary for many years before he became prominent, he is very much in tune with the various socio-economic achievements as well as problems faced by China during its phenomenoal growth. He has also been incharge of Tibet during certain very harsh days. During his forthcoming visit to India one can certainly expect that the momentum of good relations will be sustained and one hopes that decisions would be taken which will give scope for greater involvement by various sections of the general public. This is because relations should become broadbased rather than being confined to official circles.
Arjun asked, How come Indian Govt does not ban on some chinese products?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, Both India and China will have to conduct their trade policies in accordance with their obligations under the agreements reached with in the WTO and the various agreements that they have signed. Our enterpreneurs are showing the confidence that they can face Chinese competition and there is no longer the demand to curtail the imports from China.
Shreshtha asked, How do you see Russia-China and India axis? Is it possible to come closer to make world multipolar?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, There is little doubt that as three civilizational countries spread over wide geographical areas the three countries share common concerns relating to economic development in a world which has changed drastically. More importantly the three countries have common expectations from an international political order which is today dominated by the only super power. So there is ample scope for dialogue between the three countries and this dialogue is taking place at high governmental level as well as the academic levels. However, since each of the three has a deep vested interest in improving relations with the USA there is no question of the three countries forming an axis or a military alliance or confronting the US. The challenge here is to identify certain issues on which each country can exchange its developmental experience and work together in international fora on matters of concern.
Shreekanth asked, Recent media reports have talked about chinese companies being debarred from entering critical sectors via fdi route. Do you agree with this? Is this issue in the agenda of Ju Jintao visit? Given the enormous potential Indo china trade holds and huge fdi China can bring in, How do you think India would be able to justify this stand?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, I am one of those who believes that the manner in which tendered projects in which the Chinese were successful as bidders were then not awarded was badly handled, casting doubts on the level playing field which we all profess. However, as long as investment guidelines are not targetted against specific countries we can certainly hope that this issue is treated as an unhappy episode. The scope for Chinese investments in India in various fields is very large and during the forthcoming visit of the Chinese President this issue needs to be clarified and reassurance given to the Chinese side.
Viral asked, India wants to Replicate the China SEZ success story? Shenzhen was one of the first SEZ started in 80, with a size of 14,800 hectares, while India's largest SEZ is going to be 1000 hectares. What is the basic differential between the two countries when it comes SEZ planning and Implementation???
C.V.Ranganathan answers, One basic difference between the two countries is that China used the SEZ model from the early 80's to import technologies, learn from the managerial experience and piggy back on the export skills of those who invested in SEZ's. It should also be noted that the Chinese government did not alleniate land while building all the necessary infrastructure and labour. While there is no doubt that the SEZ's in China rapidly promoted Chinese exports, they also led to enormous disparities of incomes and regional inequalities. India always had enterpreneurial skills which the Chinese lacked and therefore the present emphasis on SEZ's in India would have to provide the atmosphere to leverage these skills rather than make the SEZ's a channel purely for land and luxury development.
Manivannan asked, Sir, I think entire nuclear world order (NPT and so forth) is built specifically kind of targetting India...and in a way is China secretly obsessed with Anti Indian sentiment? They made sure we are obsessed with Pakistan by assisting them directly / indirectly. Now, probably Pakistan & China might sign up their own nuclear deal I guess! I hate to see Chinese playing clever politics than us and ensured we are pre-occupied with other problems. I also understood when India was offered permanent position in UN, Nehru passed it on to China...is this true?
C.V.Ranganathan answers, It would be right to say that China has become a rigid enforcer of the NPT regime. In this sense China has joined the other four in adopting a posture which says " Do as I say but do not do as I do". India is also veering to this position. Therefore the best solution however long term is for the international community to work towards complete de-nuclear weaponization.Here China, Russia, USA, UK and France [Images] bear a heavy responsibility and India should not be seen as abandoning its earlier vision of a Nuclear Weapon Free World. As far as China's future assistance to Pakistan is concerned, this is not just a question for India but international community must be convinced that such assistance is strictly under international safe guards which should be enforced.
C.V.Ranganathan says, I am happy with this opportunity given to me to share my views on the political security, economic and other aspects of growing India China relations. My views are set in the context of the President Hu Jintao's forthcoming visit and I hope those with whom I had pleasure to interact would consider them both realistic and objective in a world where we have to improve relations with all India's neighbours.
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