Late Dr. Baldev Raj
Director, NIAS (August 2014 – January 2018) and guiding spirit behind the project
I am delighted to welcome you, dear visitor, to this site of the “India in the Chinese Media” project undertaken by the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru. I hope you relish reading its contents, and learn something new and interesting about China, the nation’s most important neighbor, as much as we in NIAS have in the course of working on this offering.
It is well known that Indians are not well informed about perceptions in China – “Neighbours, Strangers” in the words of a leading Indian publication. During his recent visit to China, Prime Minister Modi himself observed that “Indians and Chinese don’t know each other well, much less understand each other”.
The question, of course, is what can be done about that basic gap. Quite obviously, language is a key barrier and therefore the natural starting point for brainstorming on ways to bridge it. There lie the origins of this project.
The goal NIAS has set for itself in that context is to try and gauge the picture of India that is likely being formed in the mind of an average reader of the Chinese dailies and journals by presenting (complete) translations of the Chinese press’ coverage of India. We have undertaken this non-trivial commitment in a phased manner.
The Prime Minister’s visit provided an impetus for getting the project off the ground. We are glad to be able to share the results of the first phase — translations of commentaries on the Prime Minister’s visit in the Chinese press herewith, along with some others on other subjects as well.
Building upon this initial success and taking it to a sustainable level, in the form of regular output (such as a daily Bulletin of translations of the day’s items on India) will require resources of a higher order than we can spare ourselves. We therefore look to our audiences, both laymen and specialist, for intellectual and material support.
If these translations of the original commentaries etc. in Chinese facilitate a more factual understanding than has often been the case hitherto at the Indian end (based on stray quotes or excerpts from sundry sources in the English language only), the project will have achieved its purpose. It is hoped that this exercise will be of special interest to researchers and analysts of foreign and strategic affairs, and have a multiplier effect in the field of China studies in the country, both quantitatively and qualitatively, by triggering more (and more rigorous) comment and assessment.
NIAS is fortunate to have Ambassador Saurabh Kumar as an Adjunct Faculty. He is one who cut his professional teeth in China in the formative stages of its present day profile as an economic power house, under the late President K. R. Narayanan, the then Ambassador to China and a doyen of Indian diplomacy. Promoting better understanding of China in India is a passion with him now, post-retirement from active service, and it is in that spirit that he has crafted this labour of love.
We would be delighted to receive feedback to improve the impact of this endeavor.