Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group of companies, has made some interesting remarks on India’s relations with China in an interview with Bloomberg UTV. Extracts of the interview can be seen here.
He has been quoted inter alia as saying:
"No, I am not worried (about China). I wish we could find a way to be allies with China. I would prefer to use China as a very strong ally, to forge a relationship with China which would be a sustaining one and I think it could be done. India-China relationship is not adversarial, but it is not the best. You know China has never done anything adversarial to India. China has of course been assisting and arming Pakistan, which is like a red flag to India, and that already makes it a second class enemy."
His remarks may be read in continuation of my article of June 7, 2012 titled The Jugular Reality
According to a report carried by the Times of India on June 30, 2012,
“Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced that its Chinese subsidiary, TCS China, has been listed among the '2012 Top 10 Global Service Providers in China.' The award was presented by the China Council for International Investment Promotion (CCIIP) in an award ceremony held at Nanjing, China.”
Speaking at the function, Qiqi Dong, CEO, TCS China, said:
"We will continue to strengthen relationships with our local and multinational customers and we will keep building the right infrastructure to help drive China's full potential as a global player in IT services, outsourcing and consulting."
TCS, Infosys and Reliance are among the Indian companies that have been doing well in their business relations with China. The TCS web site says:
“Having pioneered the Global Delivery Network Model, TCS commenced its China operations in 2002, bringing its three decades of domain experience. In 2005, TCS established a landmark joint venture in Beijing with the Chinese Government, which is considered as the role model for Chinese IT industry. Currently, TCS has three Global Delivery Centers (GDC) in China (Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai) operating at the highest quality standards. TCS has also invested in a number of technology centers in China.”
In the strategic debate presently on in the country to which I had drawn attention in my article, the views and assessment of Mr Tata have to be given importance. At the same time, one should not overlook the growing business interests of the TCS in China.
India has reasons to be gratified by the excellent name that the TCS has made in China, its winning the trust of the Chinese government and public and the expansion of its presence in China. The increasing presence of Indian business houses in China will definitely help us in expanding our economic relations with China and in improving the state-to-state and people-to-people trust level between the two countries. One has to salute the TCS for what it has already achieved in China and wish it more success.
At the same time, our respect and admiration for Mr Tata should not distort the strategic debate and induce self-complacency in our national security related decisions vis-à-vis China. No Indian national security manager can afford to overlook the conscious role being played by China in strengthening Pakistan’s nuclear and missile capabilities, its ambivalence, if not double standards, on the question of sovereignty over Jammu & Kashmir, its strengthening its military capabilities in Tibet and its insistence on changing the status quo in Arunachal Pradesh. The deadlock in the negotiations over the border dispute is largely attributable to its waiting for the day when it can force upon us a change in the status quo.
There is no historical enmity between India and China. We do not find in China and its armed forces the kind of anti-India mindset that we find in Pakistan and its armed forces. China does not fight shy of admitting its cultural and civilisational links with India and has not been rewriting its history to erase references to such links as Pakistan, its rulers and many of its scholars have been doing.
Intrinsically, there is no reason why India and China should not be able to get closer together provided China changes those aspects of its policies on Pakistan which India sees as directed against its national and strategic interests. So long as it does not do so and so long as it does not show a more accommodating stand on the border dispute, we have to treat China in our national security planning and strategizing as a country of major concern.
We paid a heavy price for neglecting our national security interests in our relations with China when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister. We should not repeat that folly.
Yes, it is in the mutual interest to continue to strengthen the economic relations. Yes, it is necessary to increase the trust level between the two countries. But just as China all the time keeps in view what it calls its core interests in its policy-making towards India, we should all the time keep in view our core interests in our policy-making towards China.
I have been an advocate of improving even our security co-operation with China in certain fields such as maritime security and maritime counter-terrorism and counter-piracy. But we should see that our adherence to our core interests and our determination to protect them do not get diluted by any tendency towards romanticisation of China.
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies.