India and China: Conflict and Cooperation

India and China are two of the world’s most ancient civilizations. For centuries they shared advanced ideas, inventions, religious and philosophical traditions. But their economies and societies stagnated during the colonial period. In the post-colonial era mutual relations suffered a setback due to political and boundary disputes. In contemporary times they have reemerged as leading techno-economic nations. It is high time for them to move beyond conflicts and start cooperating politically, economically, and technologically for mutual benefits.

Recent developments and exchanges indicate that the ball is already rolling in that direction. Globalization for common good requires coming together rather than falling apart, sharing resources and assets rather than wasting them in endless conflicts. In the context of currently shifting global political and economic power, no two nations are better equipped than India and China to show the world how the common concerns of humanity can be addressed through mutual respect, friendship, healthy competition, and sharing of resources.

The fact is both of these Asian giants have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own unique cultural traditions and political histories. They both are only half way home and a long way to go, as the saying goes, toward becoming advanced industrial societies. They have serious social and environmental problems to encounter – problems of poverty and disparity, the problem of rapidly deteriorating environments due to rapid industrialization, and a host of other problems like rural-urban disparity, and inadequate education, housing, health-care, and employment for their large populations. These are the areas where they can cooperate and learn from each other while they compete for world markets and resources. The CEO Forum in Beijing spent considerable time on the issue of global competition and rivalry between the two Asian superstars.

With the likes of China Mobile (with.