時間:2014-7-31 14:54:32  作者:轉載  來源:轉載  查看:2792  評論:0

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with Indian VicePresident Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari at the Great Hall of the People in Beijingon June 28, 2014.

After a number of false starts in recentyears, it seems that India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide electionvictory and a strong mandate have finally opened the way to a broad strategicpartnership between Beijing and New Delhi.
Closer economic and political ties withChina have been an important part of Mr. Modi's election program. He wantsIndia to catch up and compete with China and, in order to do that, he advocatesthe need for "skills, scope and speed."
So far, he seems to have got the speedright. China and India have quickly moved to establish wide-rangingconsultations on bilateral issues. China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang was thefirst foreign leader to place a congratulatory call after Mr. Modi's election,expressing Beijing's desire to set up a "robustpartnership" with India. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi followedwith a visit to Delhi, and India's Vice President Hamid Ansari made a five-daytrip to China where memoranda were signed about Chinese companies' plans tobuild industrial parks in India.
The China-India summit meeting inFortaleza, Brazil, on July 14, 2014 (on the eve of BRIC's two-day meeting) isthe first in a number of forthcoming summits scheduled for this year. Accordingto Indian media, that first encounter has been quite successful; it lasted 80minutes – double the originally allotted time – prompting the Indian leader totweet that he "had a very fruitful meeting with Chinese President Mr. XiJinping. We discussed a wide range of issues."
The sensitive border and trade problemstopped the agenda. And in a new sign that the two countries are really movingcloser, Mr. Xi invited Mr. Modi to attend the summit of APEC nations (of whichIndia is not a member) next November in China, and to step up the participationin the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), where India currently has theobserver status.
Beijing's invitation for India's deeperengagement with the SCO is of particular importance. That is an old ideastrongly advocated by Russia (the SCO's founding member) but, sofar, systematically blocked by China. If, as seems likely, India does becomethe new SCO member during the organization's next summit in Ufa, Russia, inJuly 2015 that would indeed take its relationship with China to the level ofstrategic partnership.


Border problems and trade imbalances 


Serious difficulties in attempting tofind a mutually acceptable settlement for a 2520 miles (4056 km) frontier hasbeen a major stumbling block between the two countries ever since India'sindependence in 1947. Technical discussions have been going on for decades.They will continue. The difference is that these discussions are now coupledwith the leaders' firm pledge to find a peaceful solution.
More important, perhaps, is theagreement not to allow the border issue to stand in the way of closer economicand political ties. These are seen as confidence building measures that shouldfacilitate difficult territorial compromises.
Trade imbalances are also a seriousproblem. The bilateral trade last year came in at $65.47 billion, with India'strade deficit amounting to $31.42 billion. A similar outcome is likely thisyear. According to China's customs data, the trade volume in the first fourmonths is running at an annual rate of $66 billion, and the Indiantrade gap is narrowing to about $20 billion.
Delhi and Beijing agree that this tradeimbalance is "unsustainable." Solutions are sought in greater Chinesedirect investments in India, exports of India's services (mainly tourism) and amore liberal access of Indian pharmaceutical companies to China's market.
In the course of Fortaleza summit, Mr.Xi suggested infrastructure investments in modernizing India's railroads androads. Chinese companies are already working on industrial parks in severallocations.
Interestingly, a number of Indian stateshave been actively promoting their building sites and conditions to Chineseinvestors. That is a huge change compared with often indifferent or evenhostile attitude of Indian local authorities toward foreign direct investmentsin the past. This could be an early sign of Mr. Modi's hands-on managementstyle. He was the chief minister of the state of Gujarat for 12 years. Duringthat time, Gujarat's economy grew at an average annual rate of about 10percent, partly because it actively and successfully courted directinvestments.


Stabilizing the economy


India has also some work to do tobalance the economy. The projected central government's budget deficit of 4.1percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the current fiscal year willprobably lead to some decline of the consolidated public sectordeficit, which averaged 7.3 percent of GDP over the last three years. Thatwould leave more domestic savings to finance productive investments; it wouldalso decrease India's dependence on foreign fund inflows to support currentconsumption and business capital outlays.
Inflation at 7.3 percent in June is asignificant progress compared to 10 percent a year earlier, but it is still toohigh for a stable and strengthening output the country needs to provide jobsfor an estimated one million people entering labor markets each month.
A stable exchange rate and realshort-term interest rates of 1.3 percent suggest a roughlyneutral monetary policy. As things now stand, there is no need foradditional credit tightening to fight inflation, because a substantial part ofinflation pressures stems from poor infrastructure (apparently one-third offood supplies are spoiled before they reach the market) and weather-relatedproblems. The rainfall has improved in recent weeks, and a normal monsoon seasonis expected next month. That should help the farm output and keep the foodprices down.


nvestment thoughts


Since the beginning of the year, India'sequity price gains (23.4 percent) are by far the highest in Asia-Pacific andare among the highest in the world.
There is no doubt some "Modieffect" there. Investors correctly see a hopeful beginning of a newadministration determined to tackle the huge developmental challenges thatcould unlock India's enormous growth potential.
Partnership with China can beinstrumental in this task. In particular, Chinese infrastructure investmentscould raise India's economic efficiency and help accelerate the country'sgrowth while relieving upward supply side pressures on costs and prices.
Will that happen? I believe chances arebetter than even that it could. The key reason is that the twocountries seem to have decided to abandon old suspicions and prejudices, andthat they realize that their economic and political interests are now more intune than at any time in recent history.


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