Time again for India, China to become global manufacturing hub: Akbar (Roundup)

New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) The time has come for India and China to regain their reputation of being global manufacturing hubs, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said on Friday.

Speaking at the first ever “India-China Think-Tanks Forum: Towards a Closer India-China Developmental partnership” here, he said that one of the important aspects of the two countries’ relationship was that both have been “great trading nations”.

Noting that in 1750, India accounted for 24 per cent of the global manufacturing output and China 30 per cent, Akbar said the time has come now for the two large Asian nations to together account for 50 per cent of the world manufacturing output.

Raising the issue of terrorism, he said a nation state cannot be set up on the basis of religion or faith, and that though people in the countries to India’s east followed a variety of religions, they were united with the fact that governments could work for the prosperity of the people.

However, to the west of India till North Africa, a major conflict was developing with religious ideologues challenging the stability of the region.

“These ideologues use the weapon of terrorism. Fear is the venom that is being continuously injected into the society,” he said.

The India-China Think-Tanks Forum was set up through a memorandum of understanding signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in May last year.

In his opening remarks, Nalin Surie, Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and former Ambassador to China, said that economic and trade links have become the major highlights of India-China ties.

He pointed out that New Delhi has eased its visa policy for Chinese businessmen.

According to Surie, both India and China should cooperate in the areas of energy and cyber security.

Dwelling on terrorism, he said that there could not be a differential approach to a country’s dealing with the scourge of terrorism.

The statement assumes significance given that China has put on hold inclusion of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s name in the UN’s designated list of terrorists.

In April, China had blocked India’s move to label Azhar, a decision that had angered New Delhi which has been trying to convince Beijing to reconsider the decision, and in September, extended its decision to put a technical hold on the UN’s 1267 Committee declaring Azhar a terrorist by three months.

However, in a session on “Designing a Security Structure for a Resurgent Asia” at Friday’s forum, leading Chinese academician Ye Hailin said that China’s support to Pakistan, Beijing’s all-weather friend, was not designed to be against India.

Stressing China’s support to Pakistan was because of the growth of extremism and terrorism in that South Asian nation, Ye, he Chief Editor of South Asia Studies at the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that if China did not support Pakistan at a time when extremism and terrorism were rising, the region would have to face serious problems.

Ashok Kantha, who retired as India’s Ambassador to China earlier this year, said that it has helped that the two big neighbours developed the in the late 1980s of compartmentalising different issues and not letting these cross into each other while dealing in bilateral issues.

He said that both countries were cooperating and competing at the same time.

In a session on “Towards a New Type of Great Power Relations between India and China”, Yang Jiemian, a leading Chinese intellectual, said that Beijing saw nations not as “great” but as “major”.

A member of Member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Group in the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Yang said China has three major nation categorisations: traditional powers (like the US, Britain and France), emerging powers (like India), and sub-regional powers (like Indonesia in Southeast Asia and Saudi Arabia in West Asia).

–IANS

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