As 2013 comes to an end, we draw upon some lessons of this past year, particularly in regards to the concept of “soft power”, which is discussed often on this forum and in the Western media.
Peter Lee wrote an interesting piece at Asia Times titled “India places its Asian bet on Japan” today regarding his take of India’s recent rapprochement with Japan. Before reading this piece, I had regarded Singh’s recent trip to Japan as nothing much more than two second-rate power trying to form a second-rate alliance against a perceived first-rate power. But perhaps there is something more…
Here is an excerpt of Lee’s article: Continue reading Toward a Japan-Anchored Asian Order?
Interesting take by Russia Today about U.S.-funded NGO’s operating in India doing ‘green’ protests against the country’s aim to develop more nuclear power plants. India has shut down some of such NGO’s while Russia Today insinuate they specifically targeted nuclear plants under construction by Russian firms.
An interesting analysis in TIME magazine, to the extent that it tries to be an analysis:
And don’t forget to check out these two accompanying arguments, one for India and one for China:
After contemplating a while what to write for Day one of 2011, I thought it worthwhile to simply remind everyone what the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are. They form the bedrock of Chinese foreign policy. Chinese President Hu Jintao’s 2011 New Year’s address reaffirmed China’s adherence to them:
China will develop friendly cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and continue to actively participate in international cooperation on global issues, Hu said.
The Western public are likely unfamiliar with what they are or their significance. These principles were formulated in June of 1954 between former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and his counterparts, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, and U Nu of Myanmar. The countries had just re-emerged from the end of WW2. The colonial powers had finally (by in large) left their occupied territories. The victims wanted a fairer world.
In the midst of the concrete and steel jungle that is the Shanghai World Expo, stands the Indian Pavilion, the ‘greenest’ of them all, built entirely of environment-friendly materials, showcasing India’s unique brand of Culture, History and Soft Power and offering an unprecedented opportunity to further improve Sino-Indian relations and India’s Soft Power in China.
The Expo has finally come to China. A largely forgotten event in most parts of the world, it has been rejuvenated, on a scale in which no other country could even dream of. A record number of 192 countries and 50 organizations have registered, the highest in the Expo’s history. Most people hadn’t even heard of the expo before it came to China.
The verdict is clear – The Expo needed China as much as China needed the Expo.
All Things Considered (National Public Radio (NPR)) had an interesting report on May 20, 2010, “India’s China Envy,” expressing three prominent Indian nationals’ “envy” for China’s recent success. India is a very important consideration in this debate about democracy. Zhang Weiwei, former Deng Xiaoping interpreter, has postulated (and later on written an Op-Ed piece for in the New York Times), in order to fully realize “democracy”, other developments such as economic and civil reforms must precede it. Many point to China a bigger success where China focused on economic reforms first and India given similar circumstances lagged – and if we ask Zhang Weiwei why, he’d probably argue it was due to premature and disproportionate focus on “democracy” at this stage.
For that reason, Indians views about democracy should therefore at least be more sober compared to Americans. Are they really so? Let’s take a look.
On 3rd July 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him. He had done something which would have far reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways – He had just left the Simla conference.
After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.
For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China/Tibet have baffled scholars. In fact, the plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond actually plays just like a thriller movie or book. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.
The two Asian Giants are still not able to figure out the line which divides them – in the longest running border dispute in modern history. This dispute offers interesting lessons on how to, and how not to, handle boundary issues. The analysis of Chinese behavior in the negotiations is doubly important given China’s perception in the west of it ‘flexing its muscles’, and China’s theory of ‘Peaceful Rise’.
About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map – a line which has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and which has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India.
Consequently, on 3rd July 1914 was signed one of the most bizarre and controversial agreements ever known to man – The Simla accord, the complexities of which have yet to be unraveled.
Continue reading You Scratch My Back, but I Won’t Scratch Yours
This article was printed in the People’s Daily on June 19th. Since this is a state controlled publication, whatever is published will usually have the blessing of the CCP leadership.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and India PM Manmohan Singh recently appeared together at the BRIC summit in Russia. Things seemed friendly enough at the time. What has changed since then? And why would China have a problem with the Asia Development Bank financing development projects in Arunachal Pradesh? I would think economic development in an area that China considers to be a part of her territory would be viewed by China in a positive manner, as it would be beneficial to the people of that region.
The Doha round of WTO talks in Geneva collapsed on Tuesday. It was the US vs. India and China, without being able to resolve their differences in farm products. In my view, it’s a good thing that the talks collapsed because the real benefits of the proposed deal to developing countries were minimal but risks were very high indeed. India pulled the plug, with China assisting.
What do you people think? Collapsed, is it good?
This story just off the wire talks about more violence on the foothills of the Himalayas, resulting from a recent government crack-down on a long simmering separatist movement. Continue reading Separatists kill 8 railway workers