While Indians went about pursuing their hard life, they failed to take note that as the curtain comes down on 2011, India has begun overtaking China. It is a decisive leap over China, too. Of course, the info needed to be provided to us by the Americans who seem to know us better than we ourselves do, what we are capable of, despite the pervasive gloom and pessimism about the way things are going in our country.
The Foreign Policy Magazine complied a list of 10 world events which escaped humanity’s attention in the hurlyburly of life through 2001. Topping the list is - hold your breath - SHINING INDIA. Yes, India’s remarkable progress in the past one year in overtaking China in militarization. Not only China, but we have overtaken the rest of the world too in securing the covetable rank as the “world’s largest weapon importer”, accounting for 9 percent of the entire world’s transactions! Bravo!
The performance over the Indian Navy stands out as stupendous. The FP says: “India is focusing on sea power, a crucial new area of competition [with China]. The country is planning to spend almost $45 billion over the next 20 years on 103 new warships, including destroyers and nuclear submarines. By comparison, China’s investment over the same period is projected to be around $25 billion for 135 vessels.” But then, this is not surprising. After all, China is a mere Far Eastern sub-regional power bogged down in debilitating squabbles in the South China Sea, whereas, we have the immense responsibility to secure the entire waters of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific all the way from the Gulf of Oman to Vladivostock.
A passing thought crosses my mind. If we have such fantastic native middle class resources to give China a run for their yuan, why don’t we take on that communist country across the board and just overtake them everywhere? Say, for instance, in poverty alleviation so that we all become ‘middle class’. China just announced
that it is upping by over 80 percent its ‘BPL
‘ (that’s how we simplified it in Kerala’s local idiom - ‘Below Poverty Line’) index.
China, it seems, will now onward consider all those below 2300 yuan ($362) annually as poor people. Why don’t we also up the BPL index by 81 percent (one percent over China’s) in India? Why don’t we also declare all those Indians as ‘unlucky BPL guys’ who presently don’t have an income of $363 annually?
China’s president Hu Jintao has announced 2020 as the cut-off year when all Chinese peoples will be living in a “comprehensively well-off society”. No more BPL for China by 2020. In that case, shouldn’t we work for abolishing BPL in India at least by 2019 - just 12 months ahead of China?
The spirit of ‘competition-cum-cooperation’ with China shouldn’t be selective - or left only to our ‘China hands’ to determine. PM Manmohan Singh once wanted to make Mumbai look like Shanghai. But this is where the real competition lies - poverty alleviation, so that 500 million Indians do not go to sleep on an empty stomach. Maybe, PM should put our able ‘China hands’ on the job to analyze what is on Hu’s mind, what is Hu’s secret success story. The FP story is here