Archive for the ‘Indians’ Category

China, India To Shape New World Order?

January 2, 2009

CHINA and India are in a struggle for a top rung on the ladder of world power, but their approaches to the state and to power could not be more different.

Two days after last month’s terrorist attack on Mumbai, I met with a Chinese friend who was visiting India on business. He was shocked as much by the transparent and competitive minute-by-minute reporting of the attack by India’s dozens of news channels as by the ineffectual response of the government. He had seen a middle-class housewife on national television tell a reporter that the Indian commandos delayed in engaging the terrorists because they were too busy guarding political big shots. He asked how the woman could get away with such a statement.

I explained sarcasm resonates in a nation that is angry and disappointed with its politicians. My friend switched the subject to the poor condition of India’s roads, its dilapidated cities and the constant blackouts. Suddenly, he stopped and asked: “With all this, how did you become the second-fastest growing economy in the world? China’s leaders fear the day when India’s government will get its act together.”

The answer to his question may lie in a common saying among Indians that “our economy grows at night when the government is asleep.” As if to illustrate this, the Mumbai stock market rose in the period after the terrorist attacks. Two weeks later, in several state elections, incumbents were ousted over economic issues, not security.

All this baffled my Chinese friend, and undoubtedly many of his countrymen, whose own success story has been scripted by an efficient state. They are uneasy because their chief ally, Pakistan, is consistently linked to terrorism while across the border India’s economy keeps rising disdainfully. It puzzles them that the anger in India over the Mumbai attacks is directed against Indian politicians rather than Muslims or Pakistan.

The New York Times
Read the rest:

Economic Freeze In China and India Can Change Governments, Insiders Worry

December 27, 2008

Asia’s two big beasts are shivering. India’s economy is weaker, but China’s leaders have more to fear…

India pays an economic price for its democracy. Decision-making is cumbersome. And as in China, unrest and even insurgency are widespread.

The Economists (UK)
THE speed with which clouds of economic gloom and even despair have gathered over the global economy has been startling everywhere. But the change has been especially sudden in the world’s two most populous countries: China and India. Until quite recently, the world’s fastest-growing big economies both felt themselves largely immune from the contagion afflicting the rich world. Optimists even hoped that these huge emerging markets might provide the engines that could pull the world out of recession. Now some fear the reverse: that the global downturn is going to drag China and India down with it, bringing massive unemployment to two countries that are, for all their success, still poor—India is home to some two-fifths of the world’s malnourished children.

The pessimism may be overdone. These are still the most dynamic parts of the world economy. But both countries face daunting economic and political difficulties. In India’s case, its newly positive self-image has suffered a double blow: from the economic buffeting, and from the bullets of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai last month. As our special report makes clear, India’s recent self-confidence had two roots. One was a sustained spurt in economic growth to a five-year annual average of 8.8%. The other was the concomitant rise in India’s global stature and influence. No longer, its politicians gloated, was India “hyphenated” with Pakistan as one half of a potential nuclear maelstrom. Rather it had become part of “Chindia”—a fast-growing success story.
The Mumbai attacks, blamed on terrorist groups based in Pakistan and bringing calls for punitive military action, have revived fears of regional conflict. A hyphen has reappeared over India’s western border, just as the scale of the economic setback hitting India is becoming apparent. Exports in October fell by 12% compared with the same month last year; hundreds of small textile firms have gone out of business; even some of the stars of Indian manufacturing of recent years, in the automotive industry, have suspended production. The central bank has revised its estimate of economic growth this year downwards, to 7.5-8%, which is still optimistic. Next year the rate may well fall to 5.5% or less, the lowest since 2002.

Still faster after all these years

If China’s growth rate were to fall to that level, it would be regarded as a disaster at home and abroad. The country is this month celebrating the 30th anniversary of the event seen as marking the launch of its policies of “reform and opening”, since when its economy has grown at an annual average of 9.8%. The event was a meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee at which Deng Xiaoping gained control. Tentatively at first but with greater radicalism in the 1990s, the party dismantled most of the monolithic Maoist edifice—parcelling out collective farmland, sucking in vast amounts of foreign investment and allowing private enterprise to thrive. The anniversary may be a bogus milestone, but it is easy to understand why the party should want to trumpet the achievements of the past 30 years (see article). They have witnessed the most astonishing economic transformation in human history. In a country that is home to one-fifth of humanity some 200m people have been lifted out of poverty.

Yet in China, too, the present downturn is jangling nerves. The country is a statistical haze, but the trade figures for last month—with exports 2% lower than in November 2007 and imports 18% down—were shocking. Power generation, generally a reliable number, fell by 7%. Even though the World Bank and other forecasters still expect China’s GDP to grow by 7.5% in 2009, that is below the 8% level regarded, almost superstitiously, as essential if huge social dislocation is to be avoided. Just this month a senior party researcher gave warning of what he called, in party-speak, “a reactive situation of mass-scale social turmoil”. Indeed, demonstrations and protests, always common in China, are proliferating, as laid-off factory-workers join dispossessed farmers, environmental campaigners and victims of police harassment in taking to the streets.

Read the rest:

China Faces Social Unrest As Up To 150 Million Migrants Go Home Without Work

Indian PM wants normalized relations with Pakistan

December 14, 2008

India’s prime minister said Sunday he wants “normalized” relations with Pakistan amid rising tensions between the South Asian rivals following the Mumbai attacks that left more than 160 people dead.

Addressing an election rally in Indian Kashmir — a focal point of much of the tension between India and Pakistan — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he hopes relations between the neighbors can be “normalized,” but this cannot happen until “our neighbor stops allowing its territory to be used for acts of terrorism against India.”

Singh traveled to Khundru town in Kashmir after a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in New Delhi. The two leaders discussed the attacks on Mumbai, which have been blamed on a Pakistani-based Kashmiri militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has called on Pakistan to crack down on militant groups operating out of Pakistan.

By AIJAZ HUSSAIN, Associated Press Writer

Pakistan has carried out raids on a charity believed to be linked to Lashkar, but also urged India to provide further evidence.

Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh

India finds itself in the awkward position of having to investigate terrorist attacks hand-in-hand with its longtime nemesis. The two countries have fought three wars against each other since independence. Despite a peace process that began in 2004, tensions remain high.

Thousands of soldiers used barbed wire and metal barricades to seal off all approach roads to Khundru ahead of Singh’s visit.

The prime minister addressed the rally ahead of the sixth of seven rounds of voting in state elections. The elections for Kashmir’s state legislature started Nov. 17 and end Dec. 24. Voters cast their ballots in the fifth phase on Saturday as scattered clashes between protesters and government forces left one person dead.

Read the rest:

Mumbai: Were Indians Responsible?

December 10, 2008

An Indian militant based in Nepal who helped Pakistani gunmen cross India‘s porous borders to stage attacks is being brought to Mumbai for questioning in the recent Mumbai siege, police officials said Wednesday.

Sabauddin Ahmed was arrested in February with another militant who police say had scouted Mumbai targets a year before last month’s attacks, they said.

By Sam Dolnick, Associated Press Writer

Both men are Indians — a blow to officials who have blamed Pakistan-based militants entirely for the three-day siege, which left 171 people dead and paralyzed large parts of India’s financial capital.

Ahmed was based in Katmandu, Nepal where he took orders from handlers from the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, said Amitabh Yash, director of the police Special Task Force in India’s Uttar Pradesh state.

Read the rest: