India’s China Challenge: Closing the Gap

Status: 2016

Staff: Dr Pradeep Taneja

"Neighbours with a difference: The India-China relationship in context" Up Close podcast.

This project looked at the rise of China and the wide gap that has opened up between the two largest Asian countries in almost every sphere of activity. When China embarked on its open-door policy in 1978, the two countries were almost at par in terms of economic development and international influence. As China's economic reform unfolded, many in India began to notice the widening gap between the two countries in economic growth rates, living standards, quantity and quality of infrastructure and, more worryingly, defence capabilities. Indian media, which had previously paid scant attention to China, began to report alarmingly on the threat posed to India by China's rapid rise.

The project sought to demonstrate that India does not need to follow the Chinese example in every sphere of activity in order to close the gap with China. Moreover, closing the gap does not mean emulating China and matching (entering into a race with) China dollar for dollar in economic output and military expenditure. It regards rivalry and challenge as socially constructed concepts used by different constituencies to achieve different ends.