India should focus on regional strength, not conspiracy theories about China

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/3 22:28:39

There's nothing good about being overly nervous, a motto highly recommended for India, which seems to have gone too far in its conspiracy theorizing.

While India has always come across as being skeptical about China, an article in India's Economic Times on Tuesday went to the extreme of smearing China as a snake in the grass that "may put South Asia on the road to a debt trap."

China's push for implementing the "One Belt and One Road" initiative, which aims to facilitate joint prosperity across the countries and regions along the route, was presented by the article as offering benefits only to China while setting a trap for countries in South Asia. Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in particular, were billed as two obtuse nations that have fallen into a huge debt trap as they were purportedly burdened with heavy loans from Chinese lenders asking for high interest rates.

The article only hints at India's excessive nervousness about China's rising clout in the Indian Ocean, but it's truly ridiculous to assume that its two neighbors Sri Lanka and Pakistan would be so naïve that they would prefer unbearably hefty loans from China to more affordable loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank or India's Line of Credit.

If there had been better options, there's no doubt that the two countries would have opted for them.

The article also went to the lengths of describing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as "a strategic Chinese blueprint for China's colonial control of Pakistan in perpetuity, strategically and economically."

All of this essentially points to India's tight nerves about its giant neighbor. In fairness, it makes sense for India to stay awake and alert - according to the ancient Chinese proverb, "life springs from sorrow and calamity, and death comes from ease and pleasure."

Nevertheless, defamation and conspiracy theories won't be of any help in this regard, and instead they only belittle India itself.

Figures speak louder than words. GDP growth in countries and regions along the Belt and Road route stood at an average of 4.6 percent last year, fueled by new infrastructure projects, according to statistics from PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this year.

This was comfortably above the global average growth rate for developing countries of 3.6 percent.

Rather than fanning skepticism toward China, India should seek to build joint strength across the region.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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