Thursday, May 28, 2015

"India builds China's capability against US"

 the real challenge is not the appeasement of China but building capacities to deal with China on equal footing by taming nepotism, racism and corruption.

The recently concluded visit of Mr. Modi to China raised many expectations and was not missed by any media. Wall Street Journal tries to summarize Indo-China relationship as 5 gaps based on the economic difference and border disputes that mar the relationship of these Asian Giants. In this context, it is interesting to analyze if closing these gaps is in the interest of China and if any of Indian "concessions" are of significance in closing this gaps to ensure peace and prosperity. 

India and China seems to have coexisted in peace for quite a long time until the People Republic of China came to power in 1949 (PRC) overthrowing Republic of China (ROC). India was one of the first countries to recognize PRC and even passed the UN Security Council seat offered to it by US and USSR to China in 1955. Irrespective of these earlier rapprochements, India and China have had 3 major military conflicts in 1962, 1967 and 1987. India suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of China in 1962, after which both India and China with drew to their respective prewar positions. While, Nehru's 'forward policy' is blamed by many of the Western analysts, Indian analysts points out that the inept policy of Nehru was itself a response to Chinese preparation for war since 1959. However, in the later Chola Incident, it seems India was able to inflict over three times as much casualties as it had suffered on China. The later incident in 1987 was bloodless, thanks to some good diplomacy. Irrespective of that fact, and after having moved into the 21st century, the ghost of 1962 looms at large in the Indian mindset.  

Concluded visit and un-reciprocated Concessions

Mr. Modi was as usual more than life itself and the much hyped visit to China was more favorable to China than India. While Mr. Modi was direct in broaching up the subject of border dispute and the growing trade imbalance, nothing concrete was obtained from China. Instead, Mr. Modi ended up announcing e-visas to Chinese, which is not reciprocated as in the case of any previous concessions. Further, until now, China is issuing stapled visas to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. The e-visa is also a problem from a security perspective, given the Chinese penchant for spying. In addition to this it is understood that Chinese companies struck deals worth $22 billions, which would only widen the trade-deficit with China.  

However, the most important concession China got was before Mr. Modi reached China, which unfortunately didn't receive much media attention it should have. During the UPA regime, after the many cries of strategic analysts, the then Prime Minister of India approved the setting up of Indian Mountain Strike Force (IMSF). This IMSF was particularly raised to counter the Chinese Rapid Action Force (RAFs) stationed at the other side of the border. There is no announcement on China reducing its RAF or moving it away from its stations near the border. Shortly, before Mr. Modi's visit Mr. Parrikar announced the reduction the size of  IMSF, ostensibly under the guise of finance crunch.

In contrast to many expectations for Mr. Modi before he came to power and irrespective of his overwhelming majority, NDA Govt. is yet to re-initiate India's covert capabilities.


 India feeds China's Might

Mr. Modi may have been direct seeking clarification on Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Mr. Ajit Doval would may have been direct in saying that all bilateral relations are centered around the border issue, but India has been seeking the clarification for over 10 years now. And, China is definitely not inclined to provide that lest it would cool of the border issue. Many Indian analysts are of the view that China is particularly uncomfortable with the clause in 2005 agreement that explicitly states that no populated regions would be exchanged. Further, they are of the opinion that China is keeping up the ante over the border issue to pressure India to isolate Dalai Lama. 

However, I tend to disagree. For one reason, Chinese are pragmatists. They have no problem over Human Right excesses whether in their own land or in a foreign country. If all they wanted was to eliminate Dalai Lama, they could have resorted to a number of ways to that without upping the ante over the border issue. Their "all-weather friend" has sufficient influence and penetration and influence to see to that. China itself has sufficient level of penetration in India. Hence, I couldn't believe that Dalai Lama is the primary issue over which China is least inclined to solve the border dispute. 

In my perspective, the border issue is more to do with the China's global ambition to equal US in power terms. Dalai Lama and Tibet is a just an add-on.

In my perspective, the major reason for China to keep up the border issue is its to equal US in economic and power terms. For that China, which is largely dependent on its exports require markets. India, with its huge population and potential is a great market for its products, irrespective of the fact those products are defective or of the least quality. The bilateral relationships were ignited after 1987 and it is the hope of India that an increased economic relationship with China is likely to make China  more sympathetic to its cause, irrespective of many actions to the contrary by the latter. As long as the border issue is hot and as long as the 1962 ghost looms at large in the Indian mindset, China expects India to bend backwards to suits its interest. India, aptly does so. With India being the largest trading partner of China, it is not in the interest of China to settle the dispute now or in near future. If the border dispute is settled, there would be no incentive to India to keep up the yawning trade deficit and would be free to chose partners more amenable to its interest, which China cannot afford. Hence, China wants the border issue to burn hot as much as possible. The only time, when it may settle is when China equals US in power parity and have "settled" its disputes over South China Sea. India unwittingly aids in the rise of China's might through economic largess (trade deals that greatly benefit China). Such trade surplus on the Chinese part have enabled it to modernize its defence forces with a double digit raise in defence expenditure. This only draws India into a vicious cycle of appeasement and fear, yet no action is seen from the side of India. 

Challenge of India

It is difficult not to draw parallels between India 1962 and India in 2015. While it is true that India has developed military and economic capabilities, it is also true that China is ahead of India in all these sphere by at least a decade. Like then, infrastructure development is largely neglected at the best tardy. Like then, China is building infrastructure that could be used strategically but India stand as a mute spectator. India is even running short of ammunitions. Like then, if not more, nepotism, racism, casteism, and corruption is rampant in India. It is believed that the 1962 debacle was at least partially because of nepotism. In addition to all these, like then, India still believes in appeasement politics vis-a-vis China.

Currently, India is not China's target at least for now. Any war with India would mean a setback to China by at least decade, irrespective of the fact that India may lose. In a way, India's border dispute is a red-herring to keep people attention on one thing when the real fight is somewhere else. The West hardly misses it but try to use the situation to its advantage by proposing to sell its antiquated equipments to India. India is forced to consider those deals mainly because of its lack of capacity to produce those equipments indigenously. 

Hence, the continued appeasement by India to win China's sympathy could hardly be expected to work. If the border dispute is to be settled India has to deal with China at the same level. However, it is highly unlikely that the China would be least interested to settle the dispute before it becomes equal to US and have settled its territorial disputes in the South China Sea. In this context, it could said that India is building China's might against US, through its huge trade deficits vis-a-vis China (in the same vein, other trading partners who maintain a large trade deficit vis-a-vis China). 

Though Mr. Modi is a fan of China, he had hardly understood China. China came to this position most through its covert activities (Ex. US arrests of Chinese for economic espionage) and by reversing brain drain. On the other hand, India neither has covert abilities nor is keen on reversing brain drain. This is irrespective of the fact that many in the Indian diaspora is increasingly showing interest to come back for economic opportunities and resume family ties. The current economic crises and subsequent policies, many Indian students and researches were stranded abroad who would gladly return given an opportunity. Hence, if Mr. Modi sincerely longs to settle the border dispute, the real challenge is not the appeasement of China but building capacities to deal with China on equal footing by taming nepotism, racism and corruption. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Why are people poor?

Poverty is a problem all over the world. Since recession the rich-poor gap has only widened. In this article, I share some of my observations and thoughts on why some stay poor. 
  1. They are lazy: Some may take offence on this but if the truth be told, it is the poor who spend more time with their TV's (or any entertainment) than the rich (who delve more on self-improvement, management, etc.). For example, the grumpy cat pic (the owner became a millionaire what about those who got entertained?). How many times have you come across someone sharing items that makes or motivates someone to think/think differently? Further, if you give an idea to make money to a middle class or poor, he/she would immediately produce a deluge of ideas off-his-hat of why your idea won't work and why he/she would never do it (I'm sure many have many pics like Grumpy Cat pic but none even tried to think of something to use them). On the other hand, if you give that idea to a rich he/she would immediately try to analyze the potential of the idea and try to think of how he could make it work. While some may attribute this attitude of the poor to their disinclination to risk taking, I would only attribute it to their laziness to put even the smallest of effort to think it through.
  2. They tend to blame everyone else but themselves: The first step to improvement is to acknowledge one's mistake. For example, many wouldn't know that Walt Disney was twice bankrupt before his current successful venture. Hollywood actor Will Smith went nearly broke in 1990 but now is considered among the money-wise. History is replete with people who have outgrown their initial failures. If you ask them why they failed the first time they'd tell you what they did wrong, how they should have done it and possibly why they were successful now. On the other hand, go to a poor and ask the reason for his plight, he/she would immediately blame everyone else (parents, teachers, politicians, economy, poverty, etc.) except themselves.  Personally, my parents never wanted me to do my Masters or PhD. I wanted to pursue higher studies, and I hid all my efforts through my elaborate schemes saving every penny that I could. They were taken off-guard when I went to them with my admission to my Masters. Hence, in my perspective, self-improvement could only begin with self-realization! So, not acknowledging one's own mistake or giving excuses for their lack of action is never going to help anyone.
  3. They believe in everyone: The poor trusts everyone, astrologers, politicians, priests, etc, with no questions asked. On the other hand, rich tries to make use of these elements to their advantage. For example, royalties are portrayed by various religious entities throughout history as descendants of Gods or adorned by them to rule common men. Many people believe that and tend to live their life in poverty. While the rich(royalty), would use those religious elements to make the common men endorse their dominion and strengthen their power. Nazis were very adept at spreading rumours to win people's mind, the theory is now widely known as the "Goebbel's law". Now, this is one of the pillars of Psy-warfare (Chinese have a large number of people working on this). Even now, Mr. Modi's Govt. is trying to crack-down NGOs that are trying to protect environment. GoI's (Govt. of India) contention is that these NGOs are funded by foreign elements to prevent development in India. However, if those Nuclear plants come to existence, aren't these the foreign countries which are benefitting from it? Why none asked Mr. Modi's Govt., this question? However, Mr. Modi has no problem in NGOs working to destroy Indian culture or spread Western propaganda (Ex. The Hindu*). In either case, people believed the GoI and didn't even care to question the logic. In this context, I'm only remembered of the great sayings of Thiruvalluvar (sage poet who lived more than 2000 years ago), when I think about their state!
  4. They follow the crowd: One of the most deplorable things among the poor is their tendency to follow the crowd. Aren't there any better options, no poor or middle class care to look or hardly do. On the other hand, rich tend to constantly look out for new opportunities. Steve Jobs, learnt calligraphy, which eventually motivated him invent the first Apple Computers. Hardly, a middle class or poor, tend to make the connection between calligraphy and computers. Basically, they do things because everyone does them. When we had our baby, some of our acquaintances/friends (Canada and its Govt. as such is promoting breast-feeding in a great way...) were "advising" us to use baby-formula instead mother's milk. I was both astounded and disappointed. Their reason, every other person they knew of used that brand of formula-milk. None, cared to look or analyze the benefits of one over  the other. 
  5. Under or Over educated: Most of the poor either are less educated or overeducated. American Bureau of Labor statistics makes a direct connection between the level of education and the amount of money earned. Though this is an average, less education could be considered a cause for low income. However, what is not very apparent is, too much education also tends to make one poor. Statistics paint a grim picture of the student debt of graduates, every year. Consider also the plight of postdocs who have great ideas but not much opportunities. In Australia, one postdoc seemed to have worked as a forklift, before getting into some position. On the other hand, rich start to earn early. While education is in their interest, they would rather spend more time in learning their business and developing it. 
  6. They are cowards: The poor are less inclined to take risk or to stand out from the crowd. Even when their property is acquired by their Govt.,  or forcefully abducted by some "mafia" the poor hardly put a brave fight, even when they might have an advantage of winning the fight. For example, take the case of Target which recently failed in Canada. The CEO went home with more money than the severance package of all the other Target employees' put together. Even though the leadership is responsible for the failure, it is employees who ended up paying the price. Yet, there has been no noticeable protest or anger about it. This is irrespective of the fact that Canada is in election mode now and no politician would risk antagonizing their electorate
  7. They are not born rich: Being born to rich couple has its advantage. A recent study found the  richer twin to have better mental faculties than the poorer twin. Further, even when a poor has some idea, it is the rich who have the money to implement that and they usually hire the poor for their ideas. However, the good news is that around 50% of the new-billionaires are self-made (Ex. Sergey Brin).
  8. Lack of sacrifice: Every achievement requires sacrifice (No pain, no gain). Many rich, would have almost sacrificed their entire youth to get to the point they are now. They would have traded their "popularity" in their schools for their current position even be ridiculed and bullied. Many wouldn't even have had an opportunity to have date, while working like a nerd (many are). While, I wonder how many of the poor had ever sacrificed their want for an ice-cream or the dinner to save that one buck for investing?!
  9. Selflessness: One of the interesting things about rich, is that they are mean and tend to stretch every bit of their dollar. Warren Buffett, though is one among the top 10 billionaires consistently, who is well-known for his frugality.  However, he is not the only one. Think about the poor, they are usually over spending and more generous than these billionaires.

Please don't forget to share with us your thoughts on why you think poor are poor...

* It is my observation that 'The Hindu' publish mostly Western propaganda, when it comes to socio-economic issues and hardly prints a rational comment opposing that view. Please refer to my earlier post, for example.