Be serious about China

Be serious about China
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First Published: Wed, Apr 30 2008. 12 01 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Apr 30 2008. 12 01 AM IST
Bharat Karnad is right when he points out that China only understands military strength (“A flashpoint called Tibet”, Mint, 28 April). China signed the Panchsheel document, propagated the slogan, Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, but went on to deliver a humiliating defeat to India in 1962. Our compliant behaviour during the recent Olympic torch controversy shows that the present-day leadership is advocating the same dogma after 46 years. With such behaviour, we should not expect the Chinese to respond any differently now from what they did in 1962. Recent news about China planning to bring the China-Tibet train right up to Nepal is a clear indicator of Chinese preparations for an unassailable edge over India. If this happens, it would not be in India’s interest.
— D.K. Pandey
A flashpoint called Tibet” by Bharat Karnad (Mint, 28 April) comments on our China policy with a refreshing candour. More grit and self-respect are needed not so much to win the reassurance of our south-eastern neighbours but as a dire national necessity. Ever since 1949, China has been single-mindedly pursuing territorial aggrandizement and “Hanifying” its minority regions. Yet, the Nehruvian hangover still persists with our rulers.
We had sufficient time since the humiliation of 1962 to rechart our economic and defence policies. But we have failed. Our economic reforms are executed haltingly and our military preparedness has never received the attention of our parliamentarians.
Karnad rightly calls for the immediate sanction of three light divisions for the army and more strengthening of our military capacity. But what can one expect from our august parliamentarians when they vote the demands for grants for the ministry of defence without even a modicum of debate in the House, and even fail to raise a few innocuous questions to our defence and finance ministers on defence preparedness and the resources allocated to the Armed Forces.
The pathetic mental state of our government was on display when it undertook frenzied measures for the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi, showing greater concern for being in the good books of Beijing than reasserting our nationhood.
It’s no solace to pat ourselves on the back that we have not recognized that Tibet is historically a part of China. China will only understand the language of power. Viewed in this light, Karnad’s advice to leave aside the inconsequential threat from Pakistan and, instead, concentrate on how to stand up to the Dragon’s moves is timely.
- S. Subramanyan
What S. Mitra Kalita wrote (“The tables are turning”, Mint, 25 April) was, I think, long overdue. I couldn’t be more proud of how India has seized the opportunity created by the “World is Flat” dynamic. However, as someone who has worked with offshore teams in India for most of my career, it’s appalling to see the utter lack of class and professionalism routinely demonstrated by employees. People leaving jobs without notice, dragging out hiring processes and playing potential employers against one another are signs of this behaviour.
While I’m all for employees sharing leverage with employers, the past five years have been a bit uncomfortable to watch. The downside of this is that the constant churn has had a negative impact on the quality of India’s output, be it in software/hardware development, business process outsourcing, call centres, or anything else. 
The model that makes India (or China or anyone else) attractive is driven by the belief that quality can be maintained, or at least not ridiculously sacrificed, in the face of lower costs. If that model shows signs of breaking down, the party will start to end pretty badly, pretty quickly.
- Ranjeet Vidwans
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First Published: Wed, Apr 30 2008. 12 01 AM IST
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