China’s first ‘blue book’ on India sees a government in ‘serious crisis’

But expresses belief that New Delhi will likely emerge stronger by overcoming obstacles

May 13, 2013 02:08 am | Updated June 08, 2016 05:01 am IST - BEIJING:

The first ever ‘blue book’ on India released in China by a prominent official Beijing publisher has portrayed a government in “serious crisis,” but expressed the belief that India would likely emerge as a stronger country by conquering its current obstacles.

Chinese think tanks release ‘blue books’ every year on a number of issues. While not representing the government’s view, the books are put together by official think tanks and the projects are understood to be given tacit backing by the government.

The first ever blue book on India was released here on Friday by the Social Sciences Academy Press, detailing political, economic, foreign policy and defence issues for the year 2011-12. The book runs into more than 300 pages, and was compiled by Yunnan University, which has one of China’s biggest South Asia programmes.

According to a brief summary, the book sees India as weighed down by a number of crises — particularly corruption scandals — but also details India’s rising military strength, which it sees as being partly directed at China.

It ultimately expresses the optimistic view that India would emerge stronger from the current period of difficulty. “The Chinese saying which says ‘many difficulties can make a country prosperous’ reflects India’s problems and hope,” the book concludes.

The book, however, sees India today as a country beset with numerous challenges, saying the current Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was facing its most serious crisis since it came to power in 2009.

It pointed to frequent corruption scandals, divisions within the UPA and public anger at the economic situation as leaving Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government with a tarnished image amid declining public trust. It saw the year 2011-12, which the report covers, as among the worst since India’s “remarkable achievements” after reforms in 1991. The book estimates that by 2030, India’s population will exceed that of China’s.

On the foreign policy front, the blue book notes that India has focused on boosting relations with its neighbours in South Asia, pushed forward peace with Pakistan and developed strategic relations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal — countries with which China has also recently deepened economic ties.

It sees the United States “pivot” to Asia and strengthening of alliances in the region — viewed by most analysts in China as being directed to “contain” Beijing — as accelerating India’s “Look East” policy, observing that India’s defence cooperation with the U.S., Japan, Vietnam and Australia has warmed.

Dual focus

On military strategy, it argues that India’s defence policy has undergone an adjustment from focusing on Pakistan to a dual focus on China and Pakistan, including a consideration of the possibility of a limited two-front war.

To this end, the book says, India has expanded military forces on the border with China and also expanded its naval power towards the east.

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