Hindi-Chini Fight Fight!

If fortune favors us and if indeed, by September 2014 the Indian Mars Rover does manage to enter the Mar's orbit, India shall have been propelled into an elite league of but 3 other countries - USA, Russia and Europe - who have managed to successfully complete a Mars Mission. What has most of us excited by this is the fact that we are on the verge of beating China in this crucial aspect of the Space Race.

India and China : Competing to Superpower Status ?
Indians have always been obsessively interested in comparing India with our neighbor in the north - China. Unfortunately until 1991 brought economic liberalization, we lacked the means to do so - we had next to nothing to boast about. Ever since then, however, we have plunged into a rat race, where we constantly try, often unsuccessfully, to beat China. But here's why China still eludes us.

The foremost factor that is our undoing is ironically also something that we take great pride in trumpeting - our democracy. The Chinese Government does not face elections at all, unlike it's Indian counterpart where there has to be at least one state-level election every six months. This means that while the Chinese Government can be autocratic and dictatorial and get away with it, the Indian Government can't. For example, to acquire land for industries, the Chinese Government can (and does) be most brutal with it's farmers, ignore any protests and seize their lands while giving them some pitiful compensation. If the Indian Government does that, it shall promptly be thrown out in the next elections. 

The Chinese Government can easily allow FDI in retail without having to bother about any opposition whereas any Indian Government shall have to spend months convincing all coalition allies and opposition parties of it's merits. China can never possibly have an unstable government unlike India, where coalition and consequently unstable politics have become a way of life. The frequency of elections, state and national, also means the implementation of a model code of conduct, due to which the Central Government is effectively paralyzed. To give an example, the infamous Emergency of the Indira Gandhi era, essentially a suspension of democracy, saw the economy growing at high rates of almost 9%!

The next factor is our history. China saw just a few decades of open colonialism unlike India which saw almost two centuries of it. Furthermore, unlike India which was completely under British subjugation and plundered and looted to the fullest potential, China had many colonial masters. Thus, while India saw two centuries of economic stagnation (0% economic growth), China had only a few decades of economic decline. Secondly, economic liberalization in China began in 1976, a full 15 years before India, which got to that only in 1991. Thus, even till today there exists a 15 year chasm between India and China. India's economy in 2025 is supposed to be the equivalent of the Chinese economy in 2010.

Third is the population and land area factor. While both India and China have comparable populations, China has a land area around three times larger than India. This means more natural resources for the population to exploit. China also has reaped the benefits of it's demographic dividend ( which India is still in the process of obtaining. This turns out to be an obvious advantage for them, which no amount of efforts from our side can change.

These are the principal three factors that have resulted in China racing ahead of us in the next-superpower race. And that's why in my opinion, this Hindi-China Fight Fight phenomenon that we have cooked up is rather pointless, India and China are two separate countries created under different circumstances, having two distinctly different presents and heading to two different locations.

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