Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on October 14, 2009
Fresh on the news that Indian outsourcing power Tata Consultancy Services plans a big expansion of its China operation comes an interesting op-ed in today’s Indian Express by Washington-based scholar C. Raja Mohan on the problematic political relationship between China and India. The TCS plan, first reported by the Wall Street Journal today, to grow its Chinese operation from a headcount of 1,100 to 5,000 in five years is just the latest sign of the growing business ties between the two Asian giants are booming. As Mohan, who last month became the Henry Kissinger chair in foreign policy and international relations at the Library of Congress, points out, Sino-Indian trade has risen “more than fifty-fold” in the past decade.
Meanwhile, Chinese and Indian political elites haven’t come close to keeping pace. “From the perspective of China’s expansive international interaction, Beijing’s outreach to Indian civil society is rather thin,” Mohan writes. “And Delhi’s penetration of China’s political universe, in turn, is shockingly shallow.”
Not surprisingly, therefore, at the same time you have TCS talking about its plans for the Chinese market you have Beijing and New Delhi trading accusations in their endless dispute about borders in Kashmir and the eastern Himalayas. For instance, just yesterday a Chinese government spokesman criticized Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for visiting last week Arunachal Pradesh, the state in the Himalayas ruled by India but claimed by China. “China is strongly dissatisfied with the visit to the disputed region by the Indian leader disregarding China’s serious concerns,” Xinhua yesterday reported Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu saying. An Indian foreign ministry spokesman responded that Arunachal Pradesh is “an integral and inalienable part of India,” adding that the Chinese criticism “does not help the process of ongoing negotiations between the two governments on the boundary question.”
No doubt the Chinese are further annoyed with Singh because of Beijing’s irritation about another visitor who will soon be heading to Arunachal Pradesh: The Dalai Lama goes there next month.