India and China share borders and lot of features geographically, spiritually, scientifically and historically. Can they take the liberty of letting those relations turn sour ? My firm belief is that with some brilliant diplomatic moves, with a proper understanding of history over the past three millenia, we can dispel any distrust and fear of each other.
Looking back at history, in 1962, China went back on its promise on Panchsheel and attacked India and took possession of some Indian territory. This was a heartburn for India's first PM Pandit Nehru who died a very sad death, ashamed of the loss to China. The territory which is with China is barely hospitable and it will take many years before either country makes a foray into asking citizens to settle there. Since 1978 when China opened up its economy to the outside world and but for brief pretensions and protestations of arrogance and intolerance, I think the best neighbour India can have is China without any doubt.
Still those empires are called great because they were offensive empires which caused maximum damage to others, they attacked, pillaged, ransacked and conquered other neighbouring friendly countries / kingdoms for selfish interests and benefits. The western society was never educated or cultured to believe in the principles of peace, equality to achiever great knowledge. History that way has been unkind to India and China .. The Great Emperor Ashoka would have ruled over an empire ten times as rich as what Alexander could ever dream of. Hope historians understand some of these truths of history and stop glorifying the western civilizations, because truth can never be shut up !!
By 2008 from the same graphic, we find the list has changed dramatically, India the largest economy in 1 AD is just controlling 7 % of global economy now. A non-entity which came up as a colony of colonisers, settlers and immigrants around 1700 AD after much bickering and battles with the local indigenous people, dispossessed them of their land and asserted with the formation of a new colony, the United States of America. US now controls 21 % of the global GDP ( $ 15 trillion of $ 70 trillion global GDP), yet nowhere near to India's control of 40% at 1 AD.
As per a recent Citibank study of 2011 (1), it is said that by 2050 AD, the scenario would change a bit. India would be the richest country in the world with a GDP of about $86 trillion and China would be behind us with $ 80 trillion. Presently Indian GDP, on purchasing power parity is around $ 5 trillion and China's $9.3 trillion.
History has shown that the aggressor always has had to suffer while it is the aggrieved / attacked country that finally gets the upper hand. An example is Alexander the Great who went around the Eastern world conquering countries and finally died in his homeland after his army revolted against his evil expansionist designs. China knows this fact well and however hard it may try and however strict it may get in its dictatorial postures, it can never match up or catch up with a democratic India in the long run which respects tribals - the indigenous people of the land, the dispossessed, marginalised, poor and gives them opportunity, economic, political, educational and social, to rise up the economic ladder and prove themselves to the world.
Author : George Easaw, Bangalore, 2013.