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Sunday, January 21, 2007

WILL INDIA BECOME A SUPERPOWER? --- SE CONVERTIRA INDIA EN UNA SUPERPOTENCIA?

THIS IS MY LATEST REPORT FROM INDIA. MORE TOMORROW.
NEW DELHI -- I came to India to see if this country of 1.1 billion people will soon become the next China -- a world superpower, rivaling the United States diplomatically and clobbering Latin America in global markets.
My first impression after a few hours here: It won't.But first impressions can be deceiving.To find out why, read the full column here, and let me know what YOU think.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont share Oppenheimer's enthusiasm for India; Oppenheimer calls India a "nonthreatening regional power" - that's a very subjective statement which obviously millions of Pakistanis and Kashmiris would completely disagree with.

In terms of business the Chinese are much easier to deal with than the Indians; ask anybody who has dealt with Indian businesspeople and they can tell you the Indians are an absolute nightmare - constantly bartering and bargaining in a very unpleasant way.

This might be one of the reasons why China has captured the overwhelming share of foreign investment in Asia ; China might not have the customer service call center industry that India has built up but my money is on China: the Chinese are a far more pragmatic people; China has far less ethnic and religious divisions than in India and China is not saddled with an terrible caste class system where millions of people are classed as "untouchables" by the ruling Indian castes.

Unlike Oppenheimer I have some doubts therefore about Indian "democracy" - any democracy that subjugates millions of people and classes them as "untouchables" is not the kind of democracy that I'm used to.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oppenheimer isn't saying that India will overtake China. He's betting on China as well. He's simply saying that compared to the Chinese, who began market reforms in 1978, India is a late-comer in comparison.

I can't comment on whether the Chinese or Indians are easier to deal with on a business level, but India certainly boasts a swathe of world-class companies that the Chinese would be envious of.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oppenheimer isn't saying that India will overtake China. He's betting on China as well. The Indians are on a steep growth trend as well, though. Its just that compared to the Chinese, who began market reforms in 1978, India is a late-comer.

I can't comment on whether the Chinese or Indians are easier to deal with on a business level, but India certainly boasts a swathe of innovative and well-known world-class companies that the Chinese arguably do not.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A small correction - India adds more than 5 million cellphones in a month, not in a year as the article suggests.

Sometime in 2008 India will pass the US in the total number of mobile phone users.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the first comment:

Dude, your ignorance about India coupled with the arrogance to comment about something you don't really know much is appalling. People from the "untouchable" communities are and have been the chief ministers of several indian states. The practice of discriminating against anyone based on their caste (among other things) is against the law in India and has been since independence. There have been Presidents of India who were "untouchable". The current Chief Justice of Indian Supreme court is an "untouchable". It would be interesting to see when Blacks will be Presidents or Chief Justices in US of A.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the first comment:

Dude, your ignorance about India coupled with the arrogance to comment about something you don't really know much is appalling. People from the "untouchable" communities are and have been the chief ministers of several indian states. The practice of discriminating against anyone based on their caste (among other things) is against the law in India and has been since independence. There have been Presidents of India who were "untouchable". The current Chief Justice of Indian Supreme court is an "untouchable". It would be interesting to see when Blacks will be Presidents or Chief Justices in US of A.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen
PThørsen240@aol.com

åndrês, I was in India 2 years ago and tripped out when on my way to Raj Ghat, I saw an elephant crosss a major highway. It was a working elephant carrying a load of material, and was waiting until the light turned green to cross the highway into Raj Ghat. That was my most memorable experience in India.
The wealth in India is found down south in and around Bangalore. There was nothing modern about New Delhi. No new buildings, nothing higher than 5 stories.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Jagabandhu Kar said...

This is a brilliant writing in Miami Herald on the perception and reality of India.
One point that you missed that Indians are very stong in Spiritual Tradition. Spiritual Gurus like Ramdeo Baba, Sri Ravi Shankar and showing the path to lead the life through " Art of living", "Yogic Way of Life" and Ayurved( Natural Remedies). World after a few years will have a distinction between who practice these noble actions vs others.

There will be a blending in Commercialisation and Spriritualism in years to come.

You have missed a point how the country has embrassed to Vegiterianism which is the way of living a healthy Life!!

Jagabandhu Kar

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oppenheimer is very big on "democracy" which is why I trust that we can openly discuss this recent scandal at his newspaper; this issue is important to keep in mind whenever reading pieces from reporters on the Herald's payroll:

========================
"News broke in September that eight of El Nuevo Herald's reporters and 29 of its freelancers were paid to work for the U.S. government's Radio and TV Marti networks. The government beams programming into Cuba aimed at undermining the communist Castro government."

"The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald are separate newspapers, but they share an office and are both published by The Miami Herald Media Co. El Nuevo Herald is one of the nation's largest Spanish-language newspapers."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-11-24-herald-evacuated_x.htm

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remain very skeptical of Oppenheimer's predictions for India; I just dont think that somebody based in Miami who goes for a few days to India can be relied upon to make bold predictions about the future of that 1 billion person nation.

Coming back therefore to Oppenheimer's piece on India: Oppenheimer writes that India has a younger population and that it will overtake China etc etc. That of course conveniently ignores the fact that China still has an undeveloped "hinterland" of some 750 million persons who are ready to move into China's labour force at incredibly low wages which are still far below what the workers in the coastal provinces are earning.

I also dont buy the fact that India's "democratic" system makes it more attractive to foreign investor; that's simply has been a non issue for investors who have poured hundreds of billions of dollars into China whilst basically avoiding India. China has a far more developed transport infrastructure; China already counts on numerous first world cities such as Shanghai and the newly incorporated SAR of Hong Kong.

Imagine also the day that Taiwan is reunited with the motherland- China would be the unrivalled superpower in the far east especially if you consider that the ethnic Chinese also control the economies in the Philippines, in Malaysia, in Singapore, in Thailand, Indonesia etc.

This ethnic Chinese business network throughout all of Southeast Asia is absolutely dominant - the Indians simply dont measure up to this raw business power nothwithstanding what Oppenheimer might have learned from his first visit to India.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I mentioned earlier I have some doubts about Indian "democracy" considering the Indian caste system which classes millions of Indian citizens as "untouchables".

Just last month millions of untouchables marched in India to protest their conditions as reported by the Times:

=====================
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25689-2490192,00.html

"Nearly a million low-caste Hindus, sporting commemorative scarves and demanding equal rights in the hierarchical society of India"

“In the villages, rapes are the norm,” John Dayal, the president of the All India Catholic Union and a Dalit activist, said.

“Fifty years after the death of Ambedkar, the situation of the Dalits is only marginally improved. Even the globalised market in India has no place for them.”

Despite a quota of government jobs reserved for the “scheduled castes, tribes and other backward castes”, discrimination prevails, particularly in rural areas. “Casteism has not gone from people’s hearts,” Vivek Thawal, a Dalit bank cashier, said. “Even if you are well qualified and competent, you will not get a job.”

12:07 PM  
Blogger Vibhu said...

I'm thanking you for the article you wrote on India. You included many sides of the argument. I wanted to say that while China may have 5,000 cranes and 100,000 skyscrapers, it is not coming at no cost. China is building and building, but there's nobody to occupy those buildings, and like the officials said, the communist government is completely amoral when they are making their business decisions. Unlike China (See cultural revolution), India does not force out the old to build new, rather builds the new on top of and beside the old. This is why you see cows and other animals along the street, and semi-modern looking buildings next to wood-and-tarp shacks. I would say that while India may look like China 15 years ago, it will always look 15 years ago, and that in addition to looking 15 years ago, it will look 14 years ago, and 13 years ago, and so on.

Also, in response to some of the comments here regarding doing business with Indian businessmen vs. Chinese businessmen. It's not really true that Chinese are easier to deal with than Indian. First of all, that's extreme generalizing. Second, I have personally dealt with both, and my experience is that Chinese businessmen are very cold and unwilling to budge, whereas Indians are welcoming and malleable.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Yu said...

"China is building and building, but there's nobody to occupy those buildings"

Ha, now this is interesting. Could you find me a empty office building to "occupy"? Even in a second-line Chinese city? I'm willing to pay you $10,000 for each room.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most arguments, pro or con, seem to ignore a key aspect. China, for all its 'reforms' is till a communist country. Individual rights, freedom of speech etc. are worth squat. When you have a totalitarian state, its easy to get things done (at the pain of death, I might add). India, while being saddled with all the problems (caste system, underdeveloped infrastructure, political parties going at each other's throats etc) is still a democracy; you still have a choice about important things in your life. Ask any Indian student in the US, as opposed to the Chinese students who can never visit their homeland. Given a choice between better infrastructure and smoother business deals under a police state (where you never know when its your turn at forced labor) or a very slowly developing mess of confusion that is India today, (with all the freedoms that are rightfully yours)I'd pick India any day. Just look across the border at the mess the Military Juntas have turned Pakistan into. Its amazing that a country that seems to have so many intellectuals still can't seem to get past the theocaratic or militiristic rulers!

1:39 PM  
Blogger bhattathiri said...

India was a developed country even befor 5000 years back. But the invaders came here and looted everything and destroyed the world first Universities Nalanda and Taxila and divided the country too. So if indian rulers have got the willpower India will become the most powerful country.

9:05 PM  

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