It’s economics, stupid!

India’s claims of being well-equipped to deal with a rising China triggers a lot of scepticism among the powers-that-be in Beijing. India’s “soft spot is economic, not military”, said said a column in the People’s Daily, a state-run Chinese daily. The column argues that India’s military strength may help defend its border, China’s influence “cannot be avoided”.

“India has no better choice than to quickly boost its economic growth and improve people’s lives in its northeastern region,” said a column in the People’s Daily.

“India’s military strength may help defend its border with China. But China’s influence, no matter how indirect it looks at the moment, cannot be avoided. Instead, it’s pressing on India right now,” writes Ding Dang, a senior editor with the daily.

“India’s soft spot is economic, not military.”

The column said that 50 years have passed since the Sino-Indian Border War of 1962. “Many young Chinese only have a vague idea of that war, but the Indians haven’t forgotten.”

It said that some Indians “still worry that sometime in the future, China, with increasing military power, may retake the land that it recovered but later gave to India five decades ago”.

The writer stated that India “cannot understand where China’s strength lies today, and thus fails to find a way through which it can really deal with China’s influence or seek joint development”.

Stressing that that Chinese military arms and equipment are apparently better than those of the Indian army, and China has increased its spending on border defense, it said that China’s military growth is essentially simultaneous with its economic development.

“The Sino-Indian gap actually lies in the economy. China’s power stems from its reform and opening-up. Today China has become the second largest economy in the world,” it said.

“What deserves more attention from India is the spillover effect of the Chinese economy, rather than the comparison of military power between the two countries.”

“East of India, changes are taking place. As soon as the vigour of Myanmar, which has embarked on the path of reform, is activated, the economic fever brought by prosperous development throughout East Asia will spread all the way to India’s border”.

“As more and more ordinary Indians, especially those living in bordering regions of northeastern India, feel the benefits of rapid economic growth in China and East Asia, how will they look at New Delhi? This is probably the question that India needs to give the most consideration,” said the columnist.

The column noted that India has greater military strength in its northeastern regions than before.

“However, the Assam state remains in chaos, and a recent flood left 1.7 million people homeless. Development has remained stagnant in this region for years. The poor economy will only worsen ethnic conflict,” it added.

Author Profile

Manish Chand
Manish Chand
Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network ( and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.