Time for India to push past anger and strengthen BRICS cooperation

By Liu Zhiqin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/30 19:08:39

The 9th BRICS summit will be held in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province, from September 3 to 5. This summit is significant since it will not only summarize the achievements of BRICS in the complicated international environment, but also put forward an action plan for the operating system and prospects of the bloc.

In September of last year, the successful G20 summit in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, showed the world China's passionate involvement in the global economy during a time when global economic growth is faltering, protectionism is rising and the US has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement. In particular, China's Belt and Road initiative received generous support from B&R countries and their enterprises.

However, there are still voices of discontent in some BRICS countries. When it comes to economic and trade activities, various kinds of protectionism and egoism have been undermining the mutual trust and respect among member countries, as well as the bloc's foundation for heightened cooperation and mutual benefits. This goes against the development principle of BRICS and is sure to harm the economic growth of the international market, especially the markets of BRICS members.  

For the cooperation and future of BRICS, Sino-Indian relations is a topic that cannot be ignored due to what a healthy and stable relationship between these two populous countries means to the international community.

China and India share many similarities: They both seek to improve the standards of living for their people and play an indispensable role in the world. The healthy development of BRICS in the past has relied a great deal on close cooperation between China and India, especially their consultation and dialogue in solving important problems related to economic and trade cooperation.

However, recently, India's attitude toward China has changed a lot. India has become aggressive and bellicose. In August, India launched anti-dumping and countervailing investigations into more than 90 Chinese products. This more or less demonstrated India's unfriendly attitude toward China. Additionally, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, the Modi administration strengthened its opposition against China. These changes were music to the ears of Western countries since they feel that India's actions will be able to suppress China at low costs to themselves.

There are three reasons that India has started disputes with China.

First, India harbors ill feelings toward China's development, which is different from the West's prejudice and arrogance toward China.

When India saw developed countries such as the US and Japan blame China for their slow economic development, it realized stirring up disputes against China was the most convenient way to alleviate domestic political pressures, while also wooing the US to its side.

Yet, in the end this will end up harming India.

Similar to China's experiences, the West has never truly promoted India's development, but instead has acted as a backseat driver while letting India develop all on its own. India should learn from the lessons of history.

Second, India may think that China has no counter capability and therefore will have little impact on India. Because of this, it has chosen to make some risky moves. However, the development of India has benefited much from China's rapid development due to globalization. China regards India as its most important raw material supplier. The complementary advantages of the two economies have been given full play, making China and India gain benefits from bilateral trade.

Third, India is beset with contradictions. The structural conflicts between trade and industry have especially restricted India's market competitiveness. What bothers politicians in India is that they have no solutions for these contradictions. They once thought that the market would correct itself, but the reality has proven disappointing.

Additionally, India's national governance has always been criticized by the international community, but now the Indian government thinks that following the West's suggestions will end up helping India's economic development and improve people's livelihood.

This most likely will not happen as expected.

The BRICS countries should stand fast when facing the challenges of the complex international environment so that BRICS can contribute to the development of the global economy.

Only by maintaining cooperation and unity can BRICS push their development to a new stage.

Only through equal cooperation can BRICS countries maximize their benefits and maintain the smooth and healthy development of their economies.

The author is a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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