China should be wary of Indian competition.’ No, that is not some cocky, Indian politician or businessman talking, but an “Expert Assessment” editorial in Global Times, the Chinese media house known for its strident and at times sanctimonious anti-India editorial tirade, particularly during the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Arunachal. In a startling departure from the condescending tone it usually employs when referring to India, the editorial notes that “While Indian GDP may lag far behind, the country remains a potential emerging market.”
Global Times does make it clear, however, that the article, titled ‘China should take competition from India seriously’, is based on a report by Beijing-based ‘private’ think tank Anbound Consulting, which bills itself as the “most renowned Think Tank for public policy in Mainland China,” and an Ernst & Young analysis. “As China's demographic dividend diminishes, India, with half of its population below the age of 25, is poised to take advantage,” says the report. This is even more likely if India copies China, the paper said, since the conditions in India—vast size and market, low labour costs and large population—mirror that of China.
Noting that India “appears confident about attracting investment,” it says: "Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi hopes to boost the usage of clean energy over fossil fuels by building massive solar parks and is targeting $100 billion in investment in solar energy in the next five years, with the backing of loans from the World Bank. No other country could compete with India in supporting investors in the solar economy." All this might sound good to Indian ears, but we must keep in mind that China is still hoping India will send a representative to the massive Belt & Road Forum starting in Beijing next week. India, which has issues with a segment called the China Pakistan Economic Corridor since it passes through Gilgit Baltistan—which India claims as its own—says it is yet to decide whether to attend the Forum or not.