Conclave 2023: US bias helped China pull ahead of India, says expert

New Delhi : America’s favoured treatment of China is the reason why the one-party nation grew by leaps and bounds, while India lagged behind, said China expert Michael Pillsbury at the India Today Conclave 2023.

The United States’ preference for China is the reason why the one-party nation grew by leaps and bounds, while India was left behind, said renowned author and China expert Michael Pillsbury at the India Today Conclave 2023.

“The US’s decision to invest heavily in China and transfer all scientific discoveries and technology to China helped China pull ahead… The US government favoured China over India,” said Pillsbury.He said the then Indian government was aware that the US was blocking technological transfer for various reasons.

“Even though we thought the Indian horse would win the race, what happened was that we helped the Chinese horse, which ultimately ends up 4-5 times larger and more technologically advanced than India,” said Pillsbury.

However, this skewed state of affairs is slowly changing now, though the US is still, to some extent, leaning towards China, he added.“Our trade with India is still as not as high as with China. In spite of all of Xi Jinping’s aggressive moves, US investment in China is increasing,” he said.

Pillsbury acknowledged that China’s rise from a poor developing country to a major economic power in about four decades has been spectacular. Then, a twist in the tale.“The Chinese stopped the World Bank and IMF from announcing that their economy had surpassed America’s. They play all this down – never brag, play dumb, play weak,” he said.

So, while an “India moment” is important, a “China moment” is also coming, said Pillsbury. Though Beijing is intent on keeping it under wraps to ward off the possibility of an anti-China coalition, he added.

On the other hand, Manoj Kewalramani, Fellow, China Studies at The Takshashila Institution, disagreed with this view, and pointed out Beijing’s projections of growth at home as well as its championing of its Belt and Road Initiative and other major policy moves.

“Xi Jinping is no longer downplaying what he believes he wants the world order to be like. But I don’t think he today has the capability to achieve those goals of dominance,” he quipped.

Amid growing hostilities between China and Taiwan, America’s ambiguity to the question of who owns the self-governing island is what keeps Beijing from launching an all-out offensive, said Pillsbury.

He referred to how the US does not take a position on Taiwan’s sovereignty under Washington’s “One China” policy, and said, “If that changes, that’s a cause of war for China to attack.”
Kewalramani said he believe a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was imminent.

“I don’t think it is inevitable at any point of time… It would be extremely foolhardy, particularly after the lessons Xi Jinping is watching Russia learn in Ukraine.”
About India Today Conclave

The India Today Conclave is India’s first and only intelligence exchange that engages every stakeholder to build an agenda for positive change. It dissects every relevant fact, amplifies every sensible voice.

It’s a leadership conference where the sharpest global minds come together to analyse, debate, inspire, entertain, and, of course, prescribe solutions. For nearly two decades, the India Today Conclave has been a global diagnostic, measuring the pulse of the world, making sense of random developments and predicting the next big thing.



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