Workshop on “Understanding the Nature and Implications of the Expanding Presence of India and China, with Special Reference to Asia” Organised by IDEAs and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)

Click for the Workshop Report

The Context

High and sustained growth of GDP in China and India has impacted the global economy in general and developing countries in particular in myriad ways. With regard to the impact on the developing world, the tendency to meet rapidly expanding consumption through imports has meant that developing countries are not faced only with the threat of imports from China and India, but the opportunity to export to these countries as well. Moreover, in their search for raw materials, food, energy and other intermediates to meet their rapidly increasing requirements, China and India are increasingly willing to make investments in production and extraction as well as in the infrastructure needed to ensure the transportation and delivery of these commodities. And, finally, armed now with large foreign exchange reserves, these countries seem more willing to provide development aid support to support their developing-country partners.

This has led to two alternative ways of looking at the growing presence of China and India in the developing world. The “First World” view reflects the perception that China and India, especially the former, are on an extractive spree, exploiting the raw materials and non – reproducible resources of other developing countries, in an unequal relationship that shows little concern for sustainability and the environment. In this perspective, aid and investment are mere instruments to realize larger economic gains. While the fact that the developing countries’ long relationship and integration with the developed countries has not helped them overcome backwardness makes these views suspect, they do often derive strength from real trends in some of these countries.

An alternative view is that while the rise of China and India has both negative and positive implications for developing countries, the outcome has been positive on balance. Moreover, the global interest and presence of these countries is seen as offering a bargaining chip (vis-à-vis the erstwhile imperial powers) in their effort to negotiate their way to development in an unequal world. Taking foreign aid and “advice” from the developed industrial nations is no longer the only option before developing countries. However, the discussion regarding the role of these emerging “powers” has been restricted to mainly Africa. But the fact of the matter is that the role of these countries in Asia is much greater.

In the light of this background, the workshop was organised by IDEAs to develop an understanding of the actual nature of the relationship of these two emerging developing countries and the poorer developing countries in Asia. The aim was that by offering a perspective on a new and dynamic relationship that has the potential to at least partially redress inequalities in the global system, this would also help formulate ways in which civil society in these two countries can attempt to influence their own policy makers in moving towards a relationship that is mutually more beneficial and more directed towards spreading the benefits of such economic expansion in a more democratic manner.

The workshop, held over two days, brought together academics, policy makers and practitioners from developed and developing countries. Around 80 participants from China, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam as well as many Indian participants took part in the workshop. The attempt was to involve academicians as well as policy makers and therefore the participants included academics from various universities around the world, members of government policy making bodies and members of various research institutes.

The workshop was supported by Christian Aid, UK.

The programme of the workshop, with links to the papers /presentations, follows below.

November 5, 2009

9.30 am – 11.00 am

Welcome Jayati Ghosh, JNU

Panel on “On the Question of the Shifting Power Centres in Global Economic Order: Role of China and India”
Chair: Jayati Ghosh, JNU

Prabhat Patnaik, Kerala State Planning Board and JNU (Click for the Video)
Biswajit Dhar, RIS

11.30 am – 1.00 pm

China’s Importance for Developing Asia: Trade and Investment Relations
Chair: Smitha Purushottam, Joint Secretary, MEA

Deepanwita Dutta, “China’s Relation with Developing Asia: Integration through Trade”, IDEAs

Vineet Kohli, “China and Developing Asia: Integration through Foreign Investment and Aid”, TISS

Discussant: Prasenjit Bose, Convenor, Research Unit, CPI (M)

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm

China’s Impact on Developing Asia: Case Studies
Chair: Sheila Bhalla, JNU

Smitha Francis, “Impact of China’s Emergence on Thailand”, IDEAs
Amitayu Sengupta, “The Impact of China’s Greater Economic Integration with South-East Asia on Vietnam”, IDEAs

Discussant: Kejpiroon Kohsuwan, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand

3.45 pm – 5.00 pm

India’s Importance for Developing Asia: Trade and Investment Relations 
Chair: Navrekha Sharma, Former Ambassador, India

Malini Chakravarty, “Developing Asia and India: Pattern, Extent and Nature of Integration”, IDEAs

Discussant: Surajit Majumdar, ISID

Special Address by Ambassador of Indonesia in India

November 6, 2009

10.00 am – 11.00 am

Asian Experience of Integration through Trade, Aid and Investment: South Asia
Chair: Jayati Ghosh, JNU

Rashmi Banga, “Integration through Trade and Investment: Experience of South Asia”, UNCTAD

Shahid Ahmed, “SAFTA: Few Observations”, Jamia Millia Islamia University

I.N. Mukherji, “Asian Experience through Trade, Aid and Investment: South Asia”, RIS

11.30 am – 1.00 pm

Asian Experience of Integration through Trade, Aid and Investment: South-East Asia
Chair: Muchkund Dubey, Council for Social Development

Hendri Saparini, “Recent Development of ASEAN’s Relationship with China and India”, ECONIT, Indonesia

Suthiphand Chirathivat, “Challenges to Asian Regionalism: An ASEAN Perspective”,

Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Discussant: Parthapratim Pal, IIM (Kolkata)

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm

“Future Regional Integration: Possible Trajectories-I”

Chair: Abhijit Sen, Planning Commission

Hari Roka, “Future Trajectories of Economic Cooperation between China, India and South Asia”, Member of Constituent Assembly, Nepal

Chenfeng Di“Economic Cooperation between China and Other Developing Countries”, Beijing Normal University, China

Kejpiroon Kohsuwan, “Future Regional Integration: Possible Trajectories-Thailand’s Perspective”, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand
Discussant: Satyaki Roy, ISID

3.45 pm – 5.15 pm

“Future Regional Integration: Possible Trajectories –II”

 L.K. Ponappa, RIS

Ram Upendra Das, “Conceptual and Policy Issues relating to Regional Economic Integration”, RIS

Dionisius A. Narjoko, “The East Asian Production Networks and Regional Economic Integration: Main Challenges Ahead”, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN
and East Asia (ERIA), Indonesia

Click here for the Draft Report.