Indian Prime Minister Modi tried to push the joint Indo-Japan “Asia-Africa Development Corridor”, the corridor also known as “freedom corridor.” at the African Development Bank Summit Conference held in India on the 23rd. Indian and some Western media have argued that the two countries are trying to check China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative. As India is the only country that has publicly questioned “One Belt One Road”, New Delhi’s geopolitical attempt (initiative) around the Asia-Africa Development Corridor has received more attention.
The (smooth) development of Sino-Indian relations has been withheld by some old and new problems. New Delhi has been disturbed unduly, both in words and deeds. But if we step back and think it over coolly, compared to the highs and lows of earlier decades, Sino-Indian relations have been much more stable (in recent times). Not only is there tranquility in the border areas, but growth in trade has also been maintained. That apart, no sudden crisis broke out to affect the overall situation between the two countries (on the border).
India likes to be compared with China, for anything and everything. In these last years, India has come out with ideas of “monsoon plan”, “spice road” and so on, which presents a confused picture of cooperation before the world. The Indian media love to play this against China’s “One Belt, One Road” proposal……. This seems to help Indians bolster their confidence in the wake of the “One Belt, One Road” (initiative).
Last year, when Modi’s visited Japan, India and Japan together in the joint statement in the initiative “Asia-Africa Development Corridor”. This seems to help Indians in bolstering their confidence in the wake of the “One Belt, One Road” (initiative).
However, seeking truth from facts, there is no way “Asia-Africa Development Corridor” can compare with “One Belt, One Road”. The latter has secured wide recognition/acceptance, even the United States and Japan have turned to a positive attitude towards it. In addition, “One Belt, One Road” has already achieved a lot of results, and held its first Summit forum, whereas the “Asia-Africa Development Corridor” is still in the “blueprint” stage.
Unlike China, India still has a huge funding gap in relation to infrastructure. Its infrastructure capacity is far from the stage of spilling over naturally. China’s “One Belt, One Road” is out and out a development initiative that is on course, while the “Asia-Africa Development Corridor” stems from Indian geopolitical considerations. It has hastily come out with a joint “counter strategy” with Japan.
In fact, even if India and Japan can work out something of the kind (“Asia-Africa Development Corridor”), there will be hardly any negative impact on China. There are many development plans in the world; they overlap and the possibility of their docking with (dovetailing into) each other seems to be more than the chances of rejection (of each other). As for the possibility of a little more competition, the Chinese people are least bothered. Competition in the world today is everywhere. India’s GDP is less than 1/4 of China, and at least at present it cannot be a key factor influencing the macro- environment for competition.
Therefore, China has the psychological capacity to prepare (itself) for welcoming the success of the Indo-Japanese “Asia-Africa Development Corridor”, and even if some Chinese persons would be inclined towards conflict with India, Chinese society has the collective ability to restrain such sentiment.
India feels (an inexorable) need to jump ahead of reality (facts on the ground) and psychological anxiety to be compared to China. It need not seek to feel good by advertising its innermost fears and insecurities before the world. It may wish to relax a little and calm down. China has never squeezed India’s strategic space. It has offered itself as a natural partner for India’s economic development. It will never be a stumbling block (for India). China is willing to continue to widen the sphere of congruence between the two countries; it does not intend to engage in a zero sum game in any arena.
If India is driven by anxiety towards China, and makes competition with China a major plank of its national development strategy, then it will harm itself. Because the strategy would be targeting a problem that does not exist, it will tire itself out in the course of the implementation, and ultimately
only benefit interested third parties.
Some Indian elites, forever interpreting Sino-Indian relations against the world map, always find China and India ‘encircling’ each other. They are full of geopolitical vocabulary, but yet childish and naïve like student essays. (It is worth) recalling that in recent years, Indian leaders have repeatedly told the Chinese side that “Asia has enough space to accommodate the rise of both China and India”. We have reason to believe that their words are objective and sincere. Because expansion of cooperation between China and India is more beneficial to India than to China and India can harvest much more benefit through cooperation with China, rather than by countering it. It should not be difficult to figure out these pros and cons.