It is very fortuitous for Indian PM to visit china so soon after the visit of the President of China to India. I am a great supporter of Indian non alignment policy and believe that Indian friendship with China need not be at the cost of its relations with USA and Russia. In fact, Indian friendship with china can expose US help to Pakistan for armaments in the name of fighting terrorists and moderate Chinese support for similar purpose. But more than that, China has a huge about 50 billion usd trade surplus with India. If PM can convince China to remove the obstacles in the way of Indian goods and service export to double in the next two years, it will give boost to Indian manufacturing and forge close ties between Asian tigers. That will actually eventually make south and south East Asia the growth centre of the world.
There are many other areas in which Indo-China cooperation can grow and I will enumerate these so that we don’t bark the wrong trees. Indian agriculture despite all the cooperation with western and European countries has been suffering. The green house agriculture did not pick up even in Gujarat where the scope is so huge. China has made great strides by building upon local farmers’ innovation, right incentives and market access. If India can take to Green house agriculture China way ( not Israel way), farmers’ conditions can be improved, vegetable consumption can be increased and farmers’ suicides can be prevented. Further, agricultural productivity in China is much higher even in conventional crops like paddy. Their sluggish growth in cotton gave boost to Indian cotton exports but not yarn and textile experts.
China does not permit practically any major import without a a larger share of local manufacture. Indian recent defence purchase from France doesn’t have such requirement. Can India cooperate with China in this regard. It will automatically give boost to ‘Make in India’ mission.
Education, research and development and technological networks are other areas in which closer cooperation is called for. Despite poorer English standards, china has surpassed most countries in patents, ‘A” class publications in science and technology and quality of technology Networks. It has more world class universities than India. Why cannot we promote more academic exchange with China then? Why do much western boas still prevails in Indian bureaucracy ( is it because most of them wish to educate their own children in western countries?).
Chinese access to Bay of Bengal through Mynamar and its strong presence in Indian ocean countries shows that it will pay Indian in the same coin if Indian meddles in south China sea. Can we compromise and ask China to back off from our region and we stop meddling in their area of influence. In any case, we can only prick, we cant bite there.
Defence is another area where joint exercises will boost confidence on both sides. China has given a big boost to small scale industries so much that Ganeshas, Diwali lights and Holi pichkaris are sadly imported from China. Let us have an agreement that at least 30 per cent in the first year and 60 per cent in next year export from china to India will need to have substantial In-India manufacturing component. When one can not fight, one joins forces.
The research on climate change adaptation, pollution control, recycling and movement towards circular economy are other areas where India can cooperate. I am not wishing away the source of tension between two countries. But having had peaceful borders since 1962, it is time we increase people to people interaction and cooperation at an unprecedented scale. It is a historic opportunity and we should not let it be missed because of hawks in foreign and economic ministries. Indian interests and growth story require our need to learn the art of project execution and stronger punishment to high level corruption. We can support Chinese journey towards greater democratization and civil society participation. I hope various restrictions and reservations in that regard in India will be overcome soon.
There is no other viable path for sustaining Indian growth with healthy distribution of extremely affordable and sustainable goods and services for masses not just in both the countries but rather the whole world.