The Rival Giants: India vs China

It is the battle of the titans as the world’s most populous countries, India and China, develop at astounding growth rates. The proximity of the two countries and the fact that a lot of their industries compete against each other, has led to an inevitable rivalry between the two giants. So, who is going to beat the other in the race of becoming a developed country and most likely, the world’s next superpower?


Looking at the Chinese economy, it is quite obvious that as of today, they are ahead of India in terms of Gross Domestic Product growth rate.


The major industries of the Chinese economy that have really propelled the economy are manufacturing, mining, agriculture, coal, electronics, consumer products like footwear and toys etc. Despite the strong economy, the People’s Republic of China still faces chronic ills like flagrant regional economic inequality, corruption, population control and most importantly, the worsening environmental crisis owing to rapid uncontrolled industrialization.


China has achieved growth by putting its millions of previously unemployed labour force into factories, to produce cheap low-quality goods that find markets in developing countries. Years of communist rule was replaced by restricted capitalism in the 1980s, which has shown stellar results. However, the economy is showing signs of overheating, and experts believe that due to the appreciation of the Chinese currency, yuan, against the US dollar, will eventually lead to rising export costs and decrease the competitiveness of Chinese goods. Slowdown in the export sector is likely to harm the economy very badly which is expected to slow down appreciably around 2015. An interesting fact to note is that China is India’s biggest trading partner.


The Indian economy has flourished due to the rise of the Indian middle class in recent years. This is in sharp contrast to the Chinese economy, where the economy gave rise to the middle class.


The main industries that continue to boost the Indian economy are IT, manufacturing, agriculture, textiles and mining. Several long standing problems like corruption, economic inequality and lack of infrastructure still continue to plague India’s progress. However, there has been notable progress in the alleviation of poverty and unemployment. The middle class plays an important role in the country’s progress because it is the class that earns the most and also spends the most. Experts believe that though the GDP growth is likely to slow down, the IT sector is expected to continue to grow stronger owing to India’s cost advantages. The Foreign Direct Investments in India will also help the country to grow. In terms of percentage of people aged below 25, India leads the world. This translates into an upcoming labour force full of potential, as opposed to the ageing working population of China.


As the world ushers in the end of the era of the US, both India and China are potential candidates to being the world’s next superpowers. However, both giants face problems that have to be solved as soon as possible. China faces political instability owing to issues with Tibetans and Uighurs. Its relations with Japan, the US and Russia are also a bit precarious. It needs to cooperate with nations and ensure that the millions of working people have jobs to propel the economy even further. India needs to stem out the rampant corruption in its public sector and minimize its role in the economy. The emphasis on literacy and generation of jobs for the rural poor has to be sustained. Issues like Kashmir with Pakistan and border disputes with China need to be resolved before they grow dangerous. In conclusion, given the present economic scenario and the downslide of the US, it is nearly certain that the next superpower will be either India or China. What remains to be seen is that which nation climbs the ladder of development first and takes the beacon from the US.


Sainyam Gautam

[Image source:]