China and India’s Mutual Collectivism and History

December 28, 2011

There appears to be an obsession in the West that India, since it is a democracy, is the developing country to counterbalance China’s economic and military growth.

The American Interest published a piece in their May/June 2010 issue – The Return of the Raj, which points out that where G. W. Bush failed to build an Indo-U.S. defense pact, Secretary of State Clinton in a visit to India in July 2009 did open the door to significant arms transfers from the U.S. to India.

If the United States and India can together rediscover and revive the Indian military’s expeditionary tradition, they will have a solid basis for strategic cooperation not only between themselves but also with the rest of the world’s democracies. Source: The American Interest

In another piece, A Himalayan rivalry, The Economist focuses on the 1962 conflict between India and China saying, “Memoires of a war between India and China are still vivid in the Tawang valley…”

However, memoires aren’t everything. There is also knowledge, and China is not the same country it was in 1962.

In 1962, some of the factors that led to the war between India and China were linked to Mao’s policies, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

The Maoists were removed from power in the 1980s, and China is not the same socialist nation it was then.

Unlike India, China’s one party political system allows for quick decisions that often benefit the country.

Another important factor to remember is that China is still a collectivist nation as India is.

Due to this fact, China and India have more in common than India and America.

It does not matter that India is considered the world’s largest democracy, because to counter that, India also has a large bureaucracy that makes it difficult to get things done.

However, in India, the bureaucracy has a reputation for being tremendously arrogant and corrupt. It is a truism that Indian bureaucrats are generally smug and supercilious… source: Open India

Indian bureaucracy has often been criticized for being cumbersome and stretching procedures to sanction projects. Source: Meri News

A friend, Tom Carter, while shooting his next book in India, discovered that it was easier to travel and stay in China than India.

A study of individualist and collectivist orientations across occupational groups in India by Anjali Ghosh where he refers to a study by Sinha & Verma (1994) … that masters-level university students express more idiocentric (individualist) orientations than allocentric (collectivist) due to Western influence, immediate life concerns and exposure to mass media.

However, Verma & Triandis (1999) observed that Indian students were more vertical collectivist than U.S. students were.

Another fact is that China and India both have ancient civilizations more than 5,000 years old and they are next-door neighbors as Canada and the US are.

Note: This revised and edited post first appeared as a two-part series on September 10, 2010 as China and India’s Mutual Collectivism and Shared History – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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