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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Unlike China, India has growth with values: PM Manmohan

November 26, 2009

Chidanand Rajghatta
November 25, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Bull in a China shop is not an
expression one would normally use to describe
India’s mild-mannered Prime Minister, but at a
Washington think-tank on Monday evening Manmohan
Singh was anything but delicate on India’s newly
nettlesome neighbor before an audience that is
largely in thrall of the Middle Kingdom’s meteoric rise on the global stage.

In candid remarks that were keenly scrutinized in
the context of New Delhi’s niggling troubles with
Beijing and US overtures to the country, Dr Singh
offered an Indian perspective on rising China
that included an admission that lately, ''there
is but a certain amount of assertiveness on the
Chinese part. I don't fully understand the reasons for it."

Singh prefaced that comment by telling his
audience that India recognized that it has a long
standing border problem with China which it was
trying to resolve it through dialogue. In the
meanwhile both countries have agreed that pending
the resolution of the border problem, peace and
tranquility should be maintained in the border
line. "Having said that I should say that I have
received these assurances from Chinese leadership
from the highest level," he added, suggesting
that Beijing was not entirely sticking to the script.

But for that one discordant, complaining note
vis-à-vis Beijing, Singh indicated that India was
on the same page as the rest of the world on
China, wanting to prepare for its peaceful rise
as a major power. ''So, engagement is the right
strategy for India as well as for United States.
We ourselves have tried very hard to engage China
in the last five years and today China is one of
our major trading partners," he said.

Singh remarks came against the backdrop of
President Obama’s own visit to China last week in
course of which some Indian analysts felt he
(Obama) was sub-contracting or outsourcing
oversight of South Asian peace and security to
the East Asian giant and accepting it as a rising
if not equal partner, to the detriment of India.
That episode came on the heels of India’s renewed
tensions with China on the border issue, and over
the travels of Dalai Lama to regions Beijing regards as disputed.

Singh was also unexpectedly tetchy about
comparisons between Indian and Chinese economic
growth, saying while there is no doubt that
Chinese performance is superior to India's,
''there are other values which are important than
the growth of Gross Domestic Product.''

"I think the respect for fundamental human
rights, the respect for the rule of law, respect
for multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious
rights, I think those have values. So, even the
Indian perforce with regard to the GDP might not
be as good as the Chinese, certainly I would not
like to choose the Chinese path," he said in
unusually blunt remarks that constituted a criticism of the Chinese model.
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