The resurgence of China and India: collaboration or competition?
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The significant and largely unpredicted emergence of China and India as global economic players in recent decades has provoked diverse reactions globally and regionally. Not surprisingly, much of the Western world has been both enthused by the opportunities offered for their potential market share and concerned about the potential adverse economic and political consequences on their own products, services, and global influence. In China and India, economic growth represents a resurgence of the power both countries exercised in pre-Colonial times. In both cases it can be argued that the symbolism of the ‘Asian Century' is equal to (if not greater than) its substance, with their triumph over the West during the global financial crisis as merely the zenith of such a resurgence. One consequence of these triumphs was the promulgation of the concept of an overarching and mutually beneficial economic (and perhaps even geopolitical) partnership between China and India, in which China's highly effective manufacturing sector would be complemented by an Indian economy with significant strengths in information technology innovations and back office services – namely, Chindia. This contribution analyses the contemporary ideological, economic, legislative, socio-cultural and geopolitical contexts of both countries, with a view to exploring the reality of such conceptions. It concludes that, due to the inherent ideological, infrastructural and social differences between China and India, together with the troubled history between them, it is unlikely that such a symbiotic relationship will eventuate. More likely is a dynamic series of intergovernmental economic and limited political agreements of mutual benefit.
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