‘India needs to acknowledge its asymmetry with China’

Beijing, Feb 27 (IANS) India needs to be “honest” with itself and acknowledge its asymmetrical relationship with China and not let it become an impediment in bilateral ties, a Chinese daily said on Monday.

An editorial in the state-run Global Times suggested that New Delhi could take a leaf out of how Beijing benefited from its relationship with the US “despite major ideological differences and visible geopolitical confrontations.”

The editorial said it was in India’s interest to “rationalise the concerns over its disparity with China” and not “obsess with false parity”.

It also advised India that it needed to lower its expectations and attach more importance to the bilateral ties.

The article came in the wake of last week’s strategic dialogue between India and China where New Delhi raised concerns over China’s repeated oposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and veto against a resolution seeking a global ban against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.

“While most Chinese scholars and critics received the dialogue positively, believing it may thaw the atmosphere and propel the bilateral relations into a new era, their Indian counterparts turned out to be rather pessimistic-if not cynical, quoting the ‘unsolved’ issues regarding India’s NSG bid as well as the UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar.” the editorial said.

“Understanding this critical difference between the two is the key to capturing the shifting dynamics between the two emerging economic giants.”

“Recent history of the Sino-US relations since the waning years of the Cold War sheds much light on how India may maximize its interests by restructuring its tie with China. Despite major ideological differences and visible geopolitical confrontations, market forces in the US and China went hand in hand to tap each other’s comparative advantages, delivering unprecedented economic prosperity on both sides of the pacific.”

“While China and the US successfully captured the historical trends, can it be repeated by India and China today?

“One lesson India may learn from China is be honest with oneself. Asymmetry in economic and geopolitical power is natural for any bilateral relations.”

“China has rarely complained about taking a backseat in its relations with the US, as long as such pragmatism and entrepreneurship help it to catch up quickly. Rather, it was the idea of “G 2″ that troubles Beijing, for such artificial parity brings self-complacence but nothing helpful to the cause.”

“The moral of the story is straight forward: existing gap – even if it seems wide – should not be the major concern; what’s more important is the ways by which such gap can be closed most effectively.”

“Acknowledging this asymmetry in a hard-headed pragmatism, rather than obsessing with the false parity, may better help India to achieve its emulation quickly.”

“While it is understandable that if India makes up its mind to play second fiddle to its stronger neighbor, its cherished self-esteem may be troubled, from time to time, by any condescension it would perceive, be it real or self-imposed.

“It is in India’s interest to rationalise the concerns over its disparity with China and embrace it as a helpful catalyst to closing the existing Sino-Indian gap. In this regard, lowering expectation and situating the bilateral ties in greater historical-strategic context certainly helps India to better tap any opportunities China brings to the table, like the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor. “

“Fortunately, this round of upgraded strategic dialogue has signaled some heartening changes of bilateral ties in this direction. Let unimportant matters be unimportant-China and India should learn to live with, what Jaishankar puts, “natural issues which neighbours have” and joint efforts in finding “more common ground on more issues.”

“After all, as India and China both benefit tremendously from each other’s rise and a world of multipolarity, a strategic convergence should be approached in such a more coordinated way.”

–IANS

gsh/rn

Top