An influential Chinese daily has envisaged a “healthy competition” between India and China as a spur to promoting pan-Asian regional integration and projected Beijing as a stakeholder in India’s growth story. The new Indian government’s promise to deepen economic reforms will create a ripple effect in Asia and may prompt China to open up more to retain its advantages, says an article in the state-supported Global Times.
“The rise of Asia is incomplete without the participation of India. As a regional power, India’s openness will bring a ripple effect to the region. It will also stimulate China to put more efforts in its own opening up,” said the article, which was published in the Global Times on June 26.
The article stated that a “healthy competition” between the two regional powers in Asia would promote pan-Asian integration and would be a powerful force in propelling the global economic engine.
Alluding to limited market integration between India and other regions, especially ASEAN, the article emphasied that India has not gone deep enough because of its lack of openness.
Unlike China, whose bilateral trade with ASEAN reached $400.1 billion in 2012, India-ASEAN trade stood at a lowly $76.4 billion. The problem, the article mentions, is that India has not allowed enough countries to participate in the economic development process of India.
“India is one step behind China in participating in the integration of regional trade and economy. This lagging step affects the capability of the Indian economy in sharing the fruits of development of the regional economy,” it said.
The article stuck an optimistic note about the Modi government’s efforts to “catch up” by deepening economic reform, which, it said, will help India’s neighboring countries including China.
“If revolutionary changes can be carried out in India’s policies of attracting investment, the economic integration of Asia as a whole will be benefited,” it said, citing China’s proposal for establishing a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM).
China is keen on developing new routes of connectivity via land. It has invested in establishing connectivity with Southeast Asia through “bridgeheads” including those in the Yunnan province for the Greater Mekong Sub-region, and the Xinjiang province for cooperation with Central Asia.
Experts believe that China is eager to create better connectivity with the South Asian region, and is exploring a number of options to do so.
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