If you have to see the future, look at the map of the future. Or better why not draw the map yourself. If you are the most populous, recently turned the largest economy and the emerging new type of superpower – the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – the map will cost you USD 21.1 Trillion. Just for comparison, the economy of Sri Lanka for the year 2013 was around USD 67 Billion. Is China serious about it? (On a side note, this has nothing to do with recent phrase in Indian media and social media “are you serious”).
…if these silk routes have to be successful, China will have to interact with India.
China’s twin roads to Superpower Status
If learning is the key to future, you have to give it to China. Of course, the best way to learn quickly is to copy exactly what the successful people, companies and countries have done in the past. If the manufacturing revival of China is anything to go by, in copying exactly and at massive scales, there is no better player in the world then the PRC. Yet, Chinese revival has a remarkable long term original vision created by Deng Xipong architecture of the new type of superpower by 2050. It was completely focused on internal economic and infrastructure revival till the turn of the century. By 2005, however, the writing was on the wall that China is the greatest “business-country” of the world. Ted Fishman wrote book, “China Inc – The relentless rise of the Next Great Superpower.”
In year 2008 Zakarias’s book Post-American world, China becomes the Challenger to the sole superpower – the USA. He writes, “Americans may admire beauty, but they are truly dazzled by bigness”. China clearly indicates not big but Huge. Recently, Bill Gates twitted a Vaclav Smil statistic about China, “China has consumed more cement in 3 years than US has consumed in 100 years”.
If Chinese relentlessness of the scale, stupendousness and shock are metrics that world has been amused in last three decades or so, what China said in 2013 it will do to the world will leave you astonished completely. China will build the twin silk routes to the west was what was proclaimed in 2013. The map above is the updated plan from the Chinese government mouthpiece.
The map shows the Chinese plan. There are comparisons to the US Marshall Plan after World War II. USA gave close to USD 160 Billion in today’s terms to rebuild Europe after WWII. It was criticized in and out of USA. It was USA’s “save the world with Dollars” plan. Perhaps, the hidden hypothesis in that criticism was the dollars that have been earned by selling steel and materials to Europe for WWII. If the Chinese map above is considered just a castle in the air, have a look at the plan in an earlier map.
What India is doing?
Shashi Tharoor decodes the new “Silk Road” Revival foreign policy of China proclaims, “But the modern Silk Road’s establishment will also mark a step toward reinvigorating the ancient Chinese concept of tianxia, in which the Chinese emperor was considered the divinely appointed ruler of the entire known world.” As I wrote in my earlier column The great fall of China… consequence to India, “The increasingly assertive China is already visible everywhere. However, the Hegemony instrument comes in the form of modern silk road with dual purpose of doling out massively accumulated cash in last two decades of relentless momentum of growth that China has seen and establishing a new world order with China at the pinnacle.”
One phase of this plan may be to keep India engaged in its own struggles and with Pakistan in a regular conflict.
The two pincer movements – the twin silk routes – of China, above and below India look frightening for India on a map. The routes also clearly indicate an avoidance of India. However, if these silk routes have to be successful, China will have to interact with India. Given the investment the Chinese business-country is making in developing their new map, it is given, that China will have made comprehensive plans for India. One phase of this plan may be to keep India engaged in its own struggles and with Pakistan in a regular conflict. However, it is likely that the maritime dimension of increasing number of sea-denial hunter killer and nuclear powered submarine fleet that China is rapidly developing will be the key to keep India pressurized.
India needs a plan and its execution much faster than the Chinese rapid implementation capability visible in updating the map just in 5 months to include SriLanka and Dhaka in its plan.
Can India shake-off the lethargy? A tall order!