India and China: Perceptions of Strategic Culture and its role in the NSG membership issue

Kajari Kamal, PhD student, University of Hyderabad.

The debate on whether to include India as a member in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or not, has brought the India-China-Pakistan dynamics in the limelight again. China’s resistance to India’s membership is seen by the Indians as clearly strategic, targeted at constraining the rise of India as a global power. While some observers of India-China relations believe that factors such as border disputes, power asymmetry, mutual distrust, and most recently, nuclear proliferation issues, are obstacles in the normalization of bilateral relations, some others strongly believe that there lies a fundamental clash of interests, rooted at a strategic culture level, which manifests in China’s determination to play a key role in world affairs, as it has done as a great power and a great civilization, in the past. In a dyadic relationship, the importance of the perception of each other’s strategic culture cannot be overemphasized. Andrew Scobell argues that China’s foreign policy and its tendency to use military force are influenced not only by elite understanding of China’s own strategic tradition but also by their understanding of the strategic cultures of other states.

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Family physicians to play a bigger role in medical care in China

Madhurima Nundy, Associate Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

One of the major programme priorities of China’s health care reforms that was announced in 2009 was strengthening of primary level services and the development of general practice in order to improve accessibility. China recently announced that it plans to expand the family physician services to all its citizens by 2020. The family physician or the general physician (GP) as the gatekeeper to the health service system is the hallmark of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK where every citizen is assigned a GP. In India, where medical care is highly privatised and unregulated, the GP is a dying breed and is no longer able to stand up to a system now increasingly dominated by specialists. There is no regulated referral system that ensures rational distribution of services and market forces have put demands for more number of specialists thus creating a top-heavy system.

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Sichuan-Tibet Railway: Growing Connectivity in PLA’s Western Theater Command

Atul Kumar, Visiting Associate Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

On 27 January 2016, Losang Gyaltsen, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government, announced in the TAR’s Tenth People’s Congress that his government would accelerate the construction of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway in the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20) period. His government promised to start a preliminary survey and research to build the Nyingchi-Kangding railway section, in the current year. Yin Li, the acting Governor of Sichuan, sent out similar messages a week earlier at the Sichuan People’s Congress. These statements from the top leadership of both provinces reflect the importance of this rail project.

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Tripolar Dynamics

Alka Acharya, Director and Senior Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

Almost exactly eighteen years ago, in June 1998, after a summit meeting between the Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton of the US, a joint statement was issued in Beijing. It referred to the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in the preceding months and “the resulting increase in tension” as being “a source of deep and lasting concern to both of us”, which they jointly condemned. The statement went on to say that both the PRC and the US “agreed to continue to work closely together, within the P-5, the Security Council and with others….to prevent an accelerating nuclear and missile arms race in South Asia.” India had strongly dismissed this attempt by both to meddle in its affairs. Of course Vajpayee’s famously “leaked” letter to Clinton, had clearly placed the responsibility for India’s nuclear explosions at China’s door – both China’s advanced nuclear capabilities as also its support to Pakistan. India’s dance with the nuclear giants had begun, bringing the three countries into an intricate power-balancing act, with the shadow of the Sino-Pakistan nexus in the background.

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Confucianism and 21st Century China

Dharitri Narzary Chakravartty, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi was part of a delegation to China organized by the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi from 21-29 April 2016. 

The legacy left behind by the great philosopher of ancient China, Confucius, can be understood as the single most influential factor in shaping and binding the regions of East Asia today – what scholars call the Chinese world order. While societies in these regions have localized the teachings and principles of Confucianism, Confucianism offers a single window understanding of the society and culture in this part of the world. East Asia is seen as one cultural zone because of Confucian ideals based on which a value system was developed to address existing social and political issues and problems.

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Indian students in professional education abroad: The case of medical education in China

Madhurima Nundy, Associate Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

The commercialisation of medical education in India has led many students to study medicine abroad especially in China. The Indian medical education is in a state of crisis but there is no sense of urgency to address the serious issues of maldistribution of resources, the unregulated growth of the private sector, dearth of faculty, a lack of uniform admission procedures and dated curricula that needs to undergo a review. The commercialisation of medical education has raised concerns over issues of quality, regulation and increasing corruption in selection and recruitment procedures as has been exposed by the Vyapam scandal leading to the ‘criminalisation of medical education’.

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Health Tourism in India and China

Rama Baru, Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU and Adjunct Fellow, ICS and Madhurima Nundy, Associate Fellow, ICS.

Health tourism includes travelling for medical care, wellness and relaxation. According to UNESCAP (2007) medical travel refers to international phenomenon of individuals travelling, often great distances, to access health services that are otherwise unavailable due to high costs or limited supply. The reasons for the rise of health tourism is located in the rising cost of medical care in developing countries and the overall crisis that has affected health service systems in developed and developing countries.  Incomplete insurance coverage, long waiting lists for interventions, poor care services after hospitalization are all important reasons for rise of this industry. Another important segment for medical travel is dental, optical and cosmetic surgery. Five distinct industries come together to form the complex for health tourism. These include tourism, hospitality, airlines, insurance, medical care and wellness services.

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A Story of Two Ports: Chabahar vs. Gwadar

Virendra Sahai Verma, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

India-Pakistan rivalry in Baluchistan-Iran coast line is hotting up to become a new nerve centre of geopolitics with direct involvement of US and China. Pakistan’s media is flush with hailing China’s promised investment of US$46 billion for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a game changer which will make Pakistan as the ‘next Asian Tiger’. The coast line sits at the mouth of Strait of Hormuz and 17 billion barrels of crude oil pass through from here every day. It connects central Asia, south Asia and west Asia.

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For Sub-regional Cooperation on the Yarlung Tsangpo-Brahmaputra River Basin

Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, is a PhD candidate at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Guwahati, Assam and Panchali Saikia is Scientific Officer-Social Science, International Water Management Institute, New Delhi at the International Water Management Institute, New Delhi. Both were part of ICS delegations of scholars to China in December 2015 and April 2016 respectively.

China’s engagement with India on Yarlung Tsangpo/ Yaluzangbu-Brahmaputra water cooperation has been limited to mere Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) – mostly related to hydrological information (limited to water level, discharge and rainfall in flood seasons) on the river by China to India. These MoUs fall short of the objective of ‘Strengthening Cooperation on Trans-Border Rivers’ or of the obligations of a bilateral treaty.  Beijing has time and again spurned India’s proposal of having any water treaty or establishing institutionalized cooperation towards having mutual rights and responsibilities on management of the shared rivers. It is often seen that Chinese officials and academics are either reluctant to address or ambiguous in their responses to questions concerning YarlungTsangpo-Brahmaputra River. This strongly supports the general impression that China stresses on the full sovereignty of the riparian state over the water within its boundary and may use it according to its needs, even in the case of transboundary rivers. As an upper riparian, China’s approach towards engaging with the lower riparian countries, be it on the Mekong or the Brahmaputra, has been strategically placed rather than establishing commitments or acknowledging any regional concerns of the river basins.

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