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What the Modi-Xi meeting tells us About China and India



It was a busy week for geopolitical meetings. As Western leaders gathered in Washington and Korean leaders gathered in the demilitarized zone, Indian Narendra Modi went to Wuhan province in China to speak with President Xi Jinping for a two-day informal summit on Friday. It's a meeting worth considering: when a new world order takes shape, these two countries move from peripheral players to central drivers. These five facts explain what you need to know.

Rising Economies

In 2000, China accounted for only 3.6 percent of the world economy; Today, it accounts for almost 15 percent of global economic output, and by 2032, it is ready to surpass the US to reach the top of the world. This is done by using the power of state capitalism and combining its political power with its financial power on a scale that has never existed on the global free market.

India is still in its early stages of economic growth, but it is clearly underway ̵

1; over the next four years, the IMF is projecting that the Indian economy will grow on average by nearly 8 percent annually. Modi has carried out a remarkable crackdown on corruption and bureaucracy in the world's largest democracy of free market economy by the population (1.32 billion people). He also leads a much needed modernization of the country's infrastructure and supports his finances with an ambitious new goods and services tax. By 2027, India is expected to be the third largest economy in the world, behind the US and China.

Great Expectations

Between 1990 and 2011, almost 450 million Chinese were brought out of poverty. Around the same time (1994-2012), more than 130 million Indians escaped poverty, reducing their poverty rate by 50 percent.

For years, there was a consensus that an aspiring middle class would force the Chinese leadership to reform its political system to accommodate an empowered citizenry that demands more freedom. This has not happened, even though the Chinese leadership, in Beijing's words, has proactively begun to address concerns such as corruption and air pollution before they reach crisis levels. The recent (and persistent) political turmoil in the West has also affected the attractiveness of democracy in the open market in the eyes of many.

India is another story. Modi has failed to live up to its promise to create 10 million new jobs each year; According to estimates, he could not even reach 10 percent of this mark. India's healthcare system continues to be underwhelming, and its problems will increase as the economic wealth of the average citizen continues to increase. (The government has announced plans to dramatically expand primary health care but does not have the resources to fully meet those high promises.) These two failures have opened up Modi's political opposition to the Indian elections scheduled for spring 2019

Harnessing Technology

Nevertheless, Indians are still bullish on the future – 70 percent of Indians today are "happy" with how it runs in the country, compared to 29 percent in 2013. Given the immense India's progress Over the past two decades, this optimism has been understandable. While globalization in the West has already begun to influence politics, it still has to do so in emerging economies.

This moment of reckoning is coming. According to the World Bank, 69 percent of jobs in the early days of artificial intelligence in India today are threatened by automation. And automation is not just for India: 77 percent of jobs in China are also vulnerable to the coming tech revolution. But China may be better equipped than any other country in the world. Beijing has consistently shown that it gives social stability over economic gain, and given its unusual control over the entire Chinese economy, the country is able to ensure that large-scale economic evictions are handled and kept in check. Free trade democracies, not so much.

Growing authoritarianism

Given the chaotic politics and technical reluctance of the tech- nology today, China's political model has never been more attractive. But this system comes at a price – a growing surveillance state ranging from a national video network of 176 million cameras nationwide (with a plan to install 250 million more by 2020) to a "social credit system" that summarizes aspects of the person's story – from fraudulent school examinations, to missing child support payments, to the visit of "problematic" websites – to a composite result to assess a person's trustworthiness. That, in turn, could determine what kind of doctors you can see, which dating sites you can join, or where you're allowed to travel.

Such measures are fundamentally incompatible with liberal democracy, especially in India, where elections are regular and regular, are highly competitive, speech is (mostly) free, and the courts are independent. This has not stopped Modi from exercising more control by proposing a law earlier this month to eliminate any journalist who has spread "false news" (as accepted by the government) from their credentials. (This law was drawn after public outcry.) India's much-publicized Aadhar biometric identification system – designed to help regulators curb fraud – was voluntary when it was first introduced, but it is now imperative to receive essential government services. It is now being challenged in court, but there is also a growing sense in India that democracy does not bring the benefits it once had – a sentiment fueled mainly by China's meteoric rise. But while Modi may be ready to trade his citizens' privacy for more effective government, it is not clear that the Indian public agrees with him.

The best of … Frenemies

What leads us to this week's informal week "Summit, one with no fixed agenda, that's intentional – the goal of this meeting is to help Xi and Modi, the two And in recent months, there have been more than enough Flashpoints to make such a meeting necessary: ​​in the Maldives, in Sri Lanka, even in sleepy Bhutan, but perhaps the most controversial issue was Beijing's quest for Chinese Pakistan's $ 50 billion economic corridor as part of its One Belt One Road (OBOR) ambitious plan to tie the economic fortunes of more than 70 countries to infrastructure investment in Beijing, part of which runs through embattled Kashmir India signs up for OBOR, but India refused again just days before the meeting, and the reality is that China is today Pakistan replaced India's main rival in Asia – but neither of them sees much value in further tightening tensions. That starts with the meeting this week.


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