söndag, januari 03, 2010

India


I read an article in L'Express the other day. It was an interview with Ratan Tata the chairman of the Tata Group, India's largest conglomerate, doing business within a great number of domains (Iron industry, telecom, nuclear power, tea, hotels, cars and more).

He states that Asia will "dominate the century", not least economically but perhaps also culturally and intellectually.
This might not come as a surprise though. With China and India developing economically in an incredible pace, Japan still being an economical super power and the other "Asian tigers" not at all being dead and burried, this is quite likely.
Mister Tata also claims that India hasn't suffer from the economical crisis as the rest of the world. It was something "imposed" on India from abroad and when the political leaders noticed this they invested heavily in infrastructure and this made the effects less severe for India.
The decreasing export and demands never really threatened the Indian economy according to Ratan Tata, even though export fell with 33 %! The less serious effects of this was due to the Indian domestic market with some 500 million consumers (and a population well over one billion).
The financial sector didn't experience the same negative development either, as was the case in many other countries in the world.

He doesn't think of India as a super power yet but a country becoming more and more influential, both economically and politically.

Tata talks about the transformation of India from a agricultural country to an industrial nation and how this will cause social-economical problems when people are migrating to the cities.
Today only 15% are agriculturists compared with 50% some years ago (I don't know how long ago though).
India will also play a more active role politically with a seat in the General Council and also becoming a more influential player within the IMF as being the second largest country in the world.

Ratan Tata has also developed the cheapest car in the world, the Nano. This will of course increase the amount of Indians becoming car owners.
He also wants to lance the Nano in Europe at the prize of 6000 €.
As being a car fantast he earlier bought Jaguar and Land Rover although the long negotiations made the prize higher than anticipated.

Commenting on this I would like to say that as with China, India will probably develop rapidly from an economical standpoint but as being a democracy the government can't dictate the terms in the same way as in China.
This is of course something positively seen from the perspective of the Indian people but will perhaps delay the economical development compared to China.
Personally I prefer a situation where the people have the possibility to object to certain tendencies in society than a state that threatens its people to comply, even if this slow down the social-economical progress.
Someone would perhaps argue that this is said from a Western perspective by someone who's not starving or living under miserable conditions, like many Indians, and this is of course true.

China did also start developing the infrastructure earlier than India by building a highway between Beijing and Shanghai e.g. This has lead to that the infrastructure in China generally is better than that in India.
The infrastructural work has though - as Ratan Tata indicates - developed the last few years.
On the other hand I believe (as I've written before) that Indian university students or researchers/scientists tend to leave the country to a greater extent than the Chinese.
The Indians also tend to stay abroad if they get a chance. This because they are better payed and appreciated for their skill and competence.
The loyalty towards the state is more elaborate in China I believe.

As with China the rapid economical development in India will lead to a number of global problems, not least environmental, this, among other thins, through the above fact that the Tata Group has developed the cheapest car in the world.
The car was for a long time (and still is) in the West regarded as a symbol of freedom before one realized that the freedom for one person to drive his or her car to the extent one wishes, limits the freedom of others to breathe fresh air and having a good environment to live in.
For Indians and Chinese people, not least the poorer strata, the car will be seen in the same way as in West, namely as a symbol of freedom and independence and the environmental aspects will hardly be of any interest to the common Indian or Chinese man or woman.

That India and China is becoming more and more influential is a positive development, not least as a counter part to USA but it should however permit us to ask ourself certain vital questions related to this development, both concerning politics, environment and other related issues.
The Earth belongs to all of us whereby everything happening on this very globe concerns all people living on it, not only those in a certain country or a certain region as is often stated.
The "mind your own business" attitude is obsolete.

It's also a fact that both India and China are nuclear powers and if both the major countries in the world (USA, Russia, India, China) and others, are nuclear powers, we risk another 'cold war', a development some debaters actually welcome! They believe this will stabilize the power relations in the world!
However, personally I think this would be a very dangerous situation. The more nuclear arms in more hands, the greater risk for a 'mishap' or a consiously planned use of these weapons.
As long as the struggle between countries primarily is economical, this can - hopefully - be dealt with but if more and more countries become nuclear powers, this could and will lead to severe consequences for our planet.

There are many questions to be asked and even more answers to await. We will see what the future has in store for the planet.

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