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India on the Rise
India and Africa
Articles on India before 2009


  • (november 2010) India on the Rise. The Asian trip of USA president Barack Obama might be the most significant event in international politics of the year. What he did was more than just shake a few hands: it was a deliberate strike at China's emergent power, and it was delivered along multiple dimensions.
    The main dimension is the new strategic alliance between the USA and India. It was inevitable. In fact, it started under a Republican president, George W Bush, and it is now escalating under a Democratic president, Barack Obama. These are the two largest democracies and capitalist systems in the world, and they almost never compete. They are both former British colonies and therefore share that Anglosaxon background. They are both melting pots.
    Now they have one more thing in common: they both distrust the most powerful of all emerging countries, China. India feels the power of China because China has been building ports for Pakistan, Burma, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Basically, China is surrounded by USA military bases (Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Pacific islands, Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgizstan) but India is being surrounded by Chinese trading posts.
    The USA does not and cannot keep extending its military power. In fact, the USA is more likely to withdraw than to expand in Asia. It does not have the money nor does it have domestic public support. Basically, the USA temporarily filled the gap left by the collapse of the British Empire, that used to "patrol" Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Chinese sea. That gap will require a different guardian when the USA withdraws. It is inevitable that the USA will eventually recognize India as the only power in the region that can be trusted to replace the British Empire.
    It is ironic that the largest of Britain's colonies is now poised to become the replacement for the British Empire in Asia, now that Britain is rapidly becoming an irrelevant province of Europe.
    Obama's commitment to Afghanistan turns out to be a perfect match for India's regional interests. For the USA, Afghanistan is just the place from which Osama bin Laden waged a war against the USA, but for India it is part of the strategy to contain its main enemy, Pakistan. At the same time, Obama's commitment to defend South Korea, Japan and Taiwan turns out to be a perfect match for India's global interests. For the USA these are just old friends that it pledged to defend during the Cold War, but for India these are the trading partners of the future, and it doesn't want them to become de facto colonies of its main trading rival, China.
    Obama also visited Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim country in the world. It also happens to be the largest Muslim democracy in the world. Having been founded by Muslim traders and not by Muslim warriors. It also happens to be a melting pot, just like the USA and India. Obama was the natural messenger because he grew up in Indonesia, but that is another case in which an alliance with the USA against China was almost inevitable. The cheap Chinese goods are hurting many of the poorer countries, and Indonesia in particular. The last thing that Indonesia wants is an Asia completely dominated by the Chinese economy.
    Mainland China made the big mistake of scaring its neighbors by de facto occupying the islands that Japan claims and by printing a map that shows the regional seas as being part of China's empire. Obama's trip can now be viewed as the reaction to that action. Not only does the whole of Asia want the USA to stay in the region, but now the USA has also strengthened its alliance with India and beginning a similar process with Indonesia.
    See also: India vs China: a story of waking-up giants
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2009 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (october 2010) India and Africa. While all eyes are on China investing in Africa to take advantage of the natural resources that its expanding economy desperately needs, few observers have noticed a similar trend by India. In fact, it is India, not China, that was very similar to today's sub-Saharan Africa. Muslim Africa (basically the Sahara region and the southern Mediterranean) share the same instability issues of the rest of the Islamic world, but non-Muslim Africa (south of the Sahara) is becoming increasingly stable and democratic. There is only one war left (in Congo) and even the one major dictatorship left (in Zimbabwe) is showing signs of coming to compromises. There have been several peaceful transitions of power, and each one has introduced more democratic reforms. Equally important is the fact that what used to be failed countries (Angola, Namibia, Mozambique) have adopted liberal economic policies that have yielded economic booms after decades of socialist-inspired experiments. Unlike China, that is still a one-party system with strict control of its capitalist society, African countries offer in theory a more competitive environment. The similarities with India extend to the negative factors: they are also plagued with corruption and nepotism. It might also help that there are significant Indian minorities in all the former British colonies, and the Indians tend to be more affluent than the Blacks.
    No surprise then that billionaire Ravi Ruia has purchased mines, refineries and factories in several African countries, and that billionaire Sunil Mittal purchased mobile phone operations in 15 countries. In 2008 Indian companies invested more than $3billion in non-Muslim Africa.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2009 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • Articles on India before 2010

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