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Updated: January 26, 2011 19:47 IST

China and India cannot go to war: Lee Kuan Yew

P. S. Suryanarayana
Comment (24)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Lee Kuan Yew.
AFP Lee Kuan Yew.

Singapore's elder-statesman Lee Kuan Yew does “not think there will be a conflict between China and India” and between China and the United States at any time in the foreseeable future.

In a series of interviews to a group of journalists from The Straits Times here, released by Mr. Lee himself in the form of a book, he addressed, among a variety of subjects, serious issues concerning China, India, and the U.S., collectively characterised as “giants”. The book, Lee Kuan Yew Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, was released late last week.

“China and India cannot fight a big war because they both have nuclear weapons,” said Mr. Lee, noting that even the long Himalayan border between the two countries was not worth a fight. And, “what are the Americans going to fight China over?” At the same time, the Chinese, in his view, “need not fight” the U.S. for “control” over East Asia. “Slowly and gradually [the Chinese] will expand their economic ties with [the other countries] in East Asia and offer them their market of 1.3 billion consumers.”

Cautioning against the tendency to “talk about India and China in the same breath”, he said New Delhi “is a bigger player”, nonetheless, “than the whole of Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] put together”. India “is growing at about two-thirds the rate of China”. Despite this, “they [the Indians] are a counterweight [to China] in the Indian Ocean”. In this overall context, he would want India to be “part of the Southeast Asia balance of forces”.

On the rising profile of ethnic Indians in Singapore, Mr. Lee said: “We are now getting high-quality Indians [as new citizens of the City-State]. … It is stupid to reject them — IT specialists, banking specialists. And, they are going to have bright kids. They [the ethnic Indians] might be nine per cent [of Singapore's population today]. They used to be seven per cent. …. My feeling is the trend [of new influx] will last many years because the Indian cities will not catch up with Singapore for a long time.”

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Amazing. Why not treat the Singaporean Indians like normal citizens instead of 2nd class citizens before making such comments. Were the original Chinese migrants brighter than the Indians in the early years? Every race contributed to Singapore's growth - Indians, Chinese, Malays, Arabs, Jews, Armenians, Persians, British, Indonesians, etc. Change the way you treat Indians in Singapore first before making such glorious speeches!

from:  sarahswati
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 17:15 IST

Indian citizens and Indian government have to learn much from Mr.Lee.

from:  Sivanath T.L.
Posted on: Jan 26, 2011 at 05:15 IST

The elderly statesman struck a note of optimism but a noted scholar of international relations John Mearesheimer graphically illustrated and substantially argued that in the twenty-first century, East Asia would be the epicentre of instability because of antagonistic visions and policies of China and the US vis-a-vis the region and the recent crises in the region demonstrate that the potential of conflict between China and the US are alive in the region and when push comes to shove in the region, the US may drag India in this conflict and this would be a catch 22 situation for India given its predilection towards the US.

from:  Arshad Abbasi
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 20:22 IST

Mr Lee is a great leader with good intention.As mr Raj dreamed,if we were to have Mr Lee on board of advisor to expedite our countries growth,it will not work in the way it works in s'pore.Both countries are incomparable in matters of their people,their attitude and most importantly the amount of freedom and the efficiency of judiciary in the implementation of law.India has got freedom which is too much which means the common man is deprived of rightful freedom. It does not mean we do not have leaders on par with Mr lee's calibre.We may have even better...... . In Mr Lee,s own words,indians are becoming Hi quality.But do we have a climate for good leaders to perform and bring result.With this kind of senerio even Mr Lee will fail in india and his style of running the country,our country cant put up with.But We desperately need one like that.Then india will outgrow any other nation and we would have accomplished moulding of perfect citizens like s'pore who will remain so for decades to come

from:  anwar
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 13:56 IST

The desire and reason to make the statement that China and India cannot go to war is commendable. To activate and realize this ambition to maintain peaceful and harmonious living, there must be free travel exchange between these two countries towards tourism, higher learning, cultural exchange, trade and industries without an iota of selfish motives. Although Singapore is a small dot in the world map, it has become the most modern and unbiased nation in the world. There is no doubt Mr.Lee Kuan Yew an intelligent, far visioned, and optimistic statesman who cares for the welfare of the entire mankind. Let him live long and let the world be benefited by his wisdom.

from:  K.R.Natarajan
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 13:25 IST

Pakistan and India have nuclear wepons. That did not stop the Kargil war. However, Mr. Yew does have a point. It's not war in the traditional sense that I am worried about. It's economic warfare over currency valuation and natural resources that's more worrisome.

from:  logan
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 04:06 IST

Indeed it is rightly remarked by Mr.Lee Kuan Yew. In today's world of globalisation it will be advantageous that both the nations evolve due to mutual cooperation.It can really prove fatal if they carry enmity just for meagre interests.

from:  shobhit kumar singh
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 01:15 IST

We are so unfortunate not to have a leader visionary and mentor like Mr.Lee.However we are fortunate to be able to read his great thoughts. May God Bless him a long life.

from:  n.a.lingam
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 01:07 IST

Chindia is not a foreign concept. And I'm happy to see the Senior Minister of Singapore confirming my own opinion on direction of Indo-China relations.

from:  dr. hari naidu
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 00:54 IST

Phenomenal! Wish India had a master statesman like him.. Hopefully soon!

from:  kingsley
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 20:48 IST

Singapore does not have much resources to be self-sufficient. In less than fifty years since its independence in 1965, this city-state,a tiny dot in the world map, rose to become a top-class living city - thanks to the inspiring leadership from Mr.Lee Kuan Yew.
India has abundant resources and yet it lacks the one resource that could have made all the difference : disciplined and committed leadership.
Mr.Lee says, "...the Indian cities will not catch up with Singapore for a long time.”
Will they ever?

from:  Ramya Senthilrajan
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 19:16 IST

I am not sure why Suryanarayana did not mention Lee talking about preventing further opening of Indian International schools in Singapore, and Permanent Residents will not be given to Indian Schools students who do not study their secondary education in local Singapore Schools. Also, mentioned that Indian school culture is different from Singapore and that unless the Indian students take a root in Singapore culture, it will be difficult to keep them as Permanent Residents.

from:  Balasubramanian
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 18:40 IST

Wise words from a wise man. All this talk about war between us is unnecessary when both countries have so much to gain from trade and commerce. Hope there were such visionary statements in both India and Pakistan.

from:  Venkataraman Aiyer
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 17:11 IST

The points mentioned by Mr.Lee Kuan Yew are quite valid. India has to utilise the advises of such a learned statesmam to overcome its problems and for world peace.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 17:00 IST

Well said Lee Kuan Yew...

from:  Vishnu
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 16:16 IST

Singapore's Chief Mentor knows what he is talking about as he follows India and China closely. I wish he could be on a board of advisors for the Indian govt. - if such a thing was possible - this would speed up India's growth and standing in the world community.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 14:00 IST

Mr Lee Kuan Yew, spoke like elder statesman,which he is, straight from heart. One hopes China pays heed to his wise advice. Even a minor cinflict with India, would put China's dreams behind for decades. Mr Lee has distiguished itself by building tiny state of Singapore into top bracket of modren world,saving it from all possible conflicts. My Salutations to him.

Bhagwat Goel

from:  Bhagwat Goel
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 10:25 IST

Lee Kuan Yew : he is one of the few saner leaders of the region

from:  g.raman
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 10:20 IST

Now it will be suicidal for China to attack India.Both countries are nuclear armed.We don't think either that China will attack India in near future. But assertive/aggressive China may over step by mistake/miscalculation that can result in mass destruction in Asia.The US willingly will help India and will have the LAST LAUGH.

from:  NP Singh
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 09:43 IST

Brilliant words! I wish he will live for another 100years

from:  Radhakrishnan Saravanan
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 08:50 IST

As Singapore's elder-statesman Lee Kuan Yew says there is no scope of conflict unless there is a troublemaker. The balance of power and mutual trust is all that is needed to make Asia a better place for billions of people inhabiting this region.

from:  AMRIT NAIR
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 06:50 IST

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is a smart man, India should heed his words... though a word of caution, he tends to be a little pro-Chinese in his stance but that is an understandable position considering his ethnicity. Most of the times, his analysis is without biases.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 06:47 IST

On the rising profile of ethnic Indians in Singapore, Mr. Lee said: “We are now getting high-quality Indians [as new citizens of the City-State]. … It is stupid to reject them — IT specialists, banking specialists. And, they are going to have bright kids. They [the ethnic Indians] might be nine per cent [of Singapore's population today]. They used to be seven per cent. …. My feeling is the trend [of new influx] will last many years because the Indian cities will not catch up with Singapore for a long time.”

I want the Indian Politicians to NOTE these words and act especially on the words 'Indian cities will not catch up with Singapore for a long time.' I will be happy if Indian Politicians buck up and prove this is wrong.

from:  Narayanan S
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 05:25 IST

Mr.Lee Kuan Yew has raised the Singapore city state to the International standard. Number one country in the Asian continent.Everywhere there is Clean and Green. It is because of the hard task of the senior leader Mr.LEE. His opinion about India and China is cent percent true . India needs such like Leader.

from:  T.S.PRAKASAM
Posted on: Jan 24, 2011 at 04:28 IST
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