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India + China = 2.4 billion people

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Ya-ta Boy

Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:08 am    Post subject: India + China = 2.4 billion people Reply with quote

This is an article from Asia Times Online.

China and India fall into step
By Francesco Sisci

BEIJING - Depending on one's geostrategic outlook, the dream, or nightmare, of a China-India axis - complete with 2.4 billion people - is a step closer with the recent announcement that the two countries will for the first time ever hold joint military maneuvers.

The head of the Indian army, General Joginder Jaswant Singh, after meeting with his visiting Chinese counterpart, General Liang Guanglie, said that the armies were going to hold joint counter-terrorism and peacekeeping training programs. Singh said that border tensions between the two countries (over which they went to war in 1962) had eased so much that young soldiers from both armies were already going on joint mountaineering expeditions, playing volleyball and even sharing meals on their remote Himalayan joint border area.

Ties between the two Asian giants have steadily improved over the past seven years, after reaching a low in 1998 when India tested its nuclear bomb and blamed the "China threat" for the need to have one. In a breakthrough last month, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited India, and the two sides agreed on a roadmap to settle their border row. On that occasion, Wen expressed China's support for India's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Meanwhile, bilateral trade (China has a deficit with India) increased to US$13.6 billion last year, from $1.9 billion in 1999-2000.

Chinese papers at the time of Wen's visit reported that troops from the two countries still occasionally had stand-offs when they strayed across their common 3,500-kilometer Himalayan frontier, but the papers stressed that Singh dismissed such incidents as "nothing abnormal", adding that they were a result of "differences in perception" between the two sides of where the frontier lay. "The [military] confidence-building measures will result in reducing tension and will also result in [fewer] people [being] deployed along the borders," Singh said. With the difficulties in solving frontier problems being addressed, a new era has begun. "The momentum given by the leaders of our two countries is being enhanced further by the two militaries," Singh said.

Indian army officers visited China last year to witness military exercises, and Chinese officers were invited to see maneuvers by the Indian army and air force this year. During Liang's talks in Delhi, the two sides agreed that their navies would also hold joint exercises off the Indian coast, the second such drill after the two fleets conducted maneuvers off Shanghai in 2003.

Troubled path
China's ties with India - and Pakistan - were thrown into sharp relief when Delhi started its nuclear tests. Beijing tried in vain to prevent Pakistan from responding in kind, but to no avail - Islamabad tested one of its own nuclear devices soon after India did. Pakistan was under pressure from domestic public opinion, which was strongly anti-Indian. In 1999, things looked even worse for China as Pakistan started a violent clash with India at Kargil in Indian-administered Kashmir. The incident soon appeared to be spinning out of control, but was defused following the diplomatic intervention of the US.

China breathed easier as its priority is to maintain a peaceful environment so that its economic juggernaut can push on at full steam for the next 30 years. But alarm bells had already started to ring over Pakistan, its longstanding ally. These concerns were heightened following September 11, when it became clear that parts of Pakistan's secret services were straddling many fences, from supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan to destabilizing the Chinese region of Xinjiang and Indian-administered Kashmir. Beijing does not easily turn its back on friends, especially long-term ones. But by the beginning of the millennium it was clear in Beijing that China's stability on the southern border could not be guaranteed by Pakistan alone, partially undermined as it was by Islamic fundamentalist forces; it had to rely on India as well.

Furthermore, given her size, India was the only country that could effectively contain China, so Beijing had to move closer to its neighbor to pre-empt such a hostile strategy. In 1998, when then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote to US president Bill Clinton to explain that the Indian nuclear tests were necessary because China had to be deterred, that message was felt as an insult in Beijing. But it could also be read another way: if China warmed to India, India would feel safer, and China would not be threatened by India.

On the Indian side, a mix of envy and admiration was growing for the giant northern neighbor. China's economic success led more Indians to look to the "Chinese model" , which a senior Indian diplomat succinctly described as "more real liberalization and less liberal formalities". The seeds for the trade boom were in place.

On the political front, New Delhi started paying more attention to China's concerns over the exiled Tibetan government in India, so much so that the exiles have been thinking of moving to the US. And on security issues, both sides share a growing concern over destabilizing forces in Pakistan - note that the announced military exercises include counter-terrorism.

Economy and security are the two fundamental planks on which China's policies are based, but there is another one: China is perceived by some observers to be very gradually moving towards a process of democratization, and the only example of a functioning democracy in a very large country is India. India, moreover, has another attractive point for the Chinese Communist Party: for over 50 years, without major breaches since independence in 1947, India has basically been ruled by one party, the Congress Party.

This cuddling up between China and India has been going on for some time, yet the US has not uttered a word against it. On the contrary, Washington seems to encourage it. This could show that the US has truly peaceful intentions for stability in Asia, and it could also leave room for a bolder, longer-term world picture. In the early 1990s, then Russian premier Andrei Primakov envisioned a kind of triple alliance between Russia, China and India. The idea never took off, partly because Russia, which was supposed to be the driving force, fell into very bad economic and political shape. Tacit US acceptance of warmer China-India ties suggests that the idea of a "triple alliance" is being revived - with the US replacing Russia. This might be less strange than it sounds.

Last month, Taiwanese opposition leaders Lien Chan and James Soong (both from the anti-independence camp) visited China and appeared touched by the "royal" welcome they received. China wanted to prove to the Taiwanese domestic audience its commitment to peaceful reunification, while taking clear sides in Taiwan's internal political competition.

But it was also a message to the US. Lien and Soong have always been America's strongest allies in Asia. They were supported and groomed by the US, and the US (which has always formally opposed Taiwan independence) would naturally trust them more than the ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Moreover, the DPP has on a number of occasions over the past few years put the US on the spot by raising tensions in the Taiwan Strait at a time when Washington has been involved in the "war on terrorism" and did not want to see any new flash points on the map.

On his return from China, Lien and Soong would have said a few good words in China's favor to their American friends. This positive climate could explain the favorable US response, or at least non-hostility, to China-India rapprochement.

Arguably, the episode illustrates Chinese President Hu Jintao's boldness, dexterity and ability to "think out the box". In less than a month, emerging from the international furor caused by Beijing passing an anti-secession law, Hu has significantly improved relations first with Taiwan and now with India, and in both cases made positive gestures towards the US.

Hu can also say to his growing restive domestic audience that he is no "softie", as he has proved by not bending over backwards to accommodate Japan. Last week, he abruptly recalled Vice Prime Minister Wu Yi from Tokyo, where she had been sent to mend fences with Japan over plummeting relations, when it became apparent that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was not giving in on his controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine for Japanese war dead. This balance between tough, bold and unconventional perhaps provides the real formula for Hu's administration.

Francesco Sisci, based in Beijing, is Asia Editor for the daily La Stampa.
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Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Location: President's office, Korean Space Agency

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This probably deserves to be reiterated:

Meanwhile, bilateral trade (China has a deficit with India) increased to US$13.6 billion last year, from $1.9 billion in 1999-2000.


This article is on a somewhat related note. *beep* Air Canada, but still.

Air Canada takes off for Beijing
Last Updated Thu, 02 Jun 2005 11:52:51 EDT
CBC News

Air Canada has started a non-stop service between Toronto and Beijing.

The first plane in a four-times-a-week service took off Thursday on the more than 13-hour flight.

The airline plans to fly daily next year, it said.

It's part of Air Canada's plan to increase international service, Marc Rosenberg, vice-president, sales and product distribution, said in a statement.

Last month, Vancouver-based Harmony Airways said it planned to sell seats to Chinese destinations on another airline, a practice known as code sharing. It said it would start later this year, and was negotiating to buy an aircraft – its fifth – for Chinese flights next year.

The designation allows Harmony to begin flying on a code-share basis with another airline, which the carrier plans to do later this year. Harmony is currently in negotiations to acquire its own long-range aircraft for service to China in 2006.

Both airlines are taking advantage of the air transport agreement between Canada and China announced on April 19, which allows for the tripling of passenger and cargo flights between the countries.

With the Toronto-Beijing service, Air Canada now has non-stop flights to eight Asian destinations.
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imagine either one of those countries having the same presence as the US, only times four? Holy crap.

And if it were China... HOLY CRAP!!!
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