Mar 25, 2000|
Bill C stays silent on ‘C’
If you thought that India is of significant importance to the US, then we are sorry to disappoint you. Especially when the US President, who is currently in the country, is full of talk regarding the democratic nature of our country, its growing infotech sector and its estranged relationship with Pakistan. Infact, the US has even endorsed India's view on the issue of the Line of Control with Pakistan.
But talks apart, what do facts tell us. Well, China (and we do not wish to compare ourselves with Pakistan whose GDP is a fraction of the GDP of India) is of more importance to the US, or so it seems. First the trade figures. India's exports to the US amounted to a paltry US$ 7 bn in FY99. The US imports from China are atleast 8 – 10 times that amount. Then there is the issue of the trade deficit, which in simple words is the external support to the economy (foreigners are buying goods made in our economy). This too in China's case is extraordinarily large. With India, the US runs a trade deficit of US$ 3.5 bn (1% of India's GDP).
The headlines in newspapers are applauding the US$ 4 bn worth of agreements signed between the US and India. However, does anyone remember the worth of the deals that were signed between the US and China when the US President made a visit some years back. It would be a safe guess to assume a factor of 20 times. And not to forget the list of business tycoons that accompanied the US President on his China tour. His India tour on the other did not include any such people.
Come to think of it, even at the time of the nuclear tests, the defence minister had clearly stated that the threat to the country comes from China and not Pakistan. Meanwhile, the US President’s various statements have so far been conspicuous by their omission of China. It does trigger a thinking process that though India is of ‘increasing importance’; it is the communist China that commands greater importance.
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