Maintaining An Edge

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When I read editorials detailing China’s power indicators with respect to India, I tend to appreciate the fact that our eastern neighbours are indeed way ahead of us in terms of infrastructure, growth and in providing basic hygiene and a higher standard of living to her citizens.

But the attempt made by some commentators to establish Chinese authority (just because of those factors) doesn’t really appeal to me. Obviously, actually. Similarly, jingoistic pieces from India (or Indians abroad) that turn a blind eye to China’s genuine rise are a turn-off too. The faster we accept this fact, the better it could turn out and eventually benefit us.

All emotions aside, India must maintain the edge that it holds in various sectors vis-a-vis China. The Chinese are quick learners and will certainly will have marked out areas where Indians are ahead. I have visited China in the recent past, and here is what I made of the Chinese (a very informal piece, that one).

However, there are certain areas where India clearly holds the edge. The fact that Indian outsourcing giants like TCS are looking towards China as a market [Link] suggests that the Chinese market is rather fragmented. India’s firms, on the other hand, have been posting consistent profits and rise in growth. TCS, themselves, have grown by 8-10 pc this year. It could take China a while to even contemplate capturing the IT services sector. And there is a second factor that comes into play – the English language.

India has the largest number of English speakers in the world, outside the United States. China, as of now, does not even appear in the Top 7. But it is an advantage that could possibly end (considering China’s dedication to increasing the versatility of her workforce) and India must hold on to it, at any cost. English speaking directly increases employability and plays a huge role in attaining professional success in various streams. Add to that, the opportunities Indians get to work and live abroad.

India offers protection to intellectual property, that is way better than China. Although the Chinese are working hard to end their piracy issues, the CEO of Microsoft himself has stated that it is India, and not China, that attracts software companies. [Link] There was also the recent censorship issue between Google and China, that hasn’t worked in Chinese favour.

Finally, we have our principles. Yes, India is more principled than China (democracy, rule of Law, transparency) and there is not a shadow of doubt about that fact. But India must not use that as an excuse to garner international opinion in support of it’s potential superpowerdom and must focus on giving her people a life that is worth living.

There is no ‘greater greatness’ than ensuring the prosperity and well-being of Indians in India and all over the world. And that is what India’s leaders and policy-makers must aspire to do.

Always.

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