Turn rivalry into friendship, Shourie to businessmen

Thursday, 26 June 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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SHANGAI: Indian Information Technology Minister Arun Shourie Thursday said China and India should transform any perception of rivalry between them into friendship to make the "Asian century" a reality.

"Both countries need to put value to that relationship, transcending the calculus of immediate advantage of trying to put down the other," Shourie said while delivering the keynote address at an event titled "Business Insights: Leveraging Asia's Growth Engines for Value-Creation."

The event, hosted jointly by BusinessWeek and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), drew over 55 Chinese businessmen, including a dozen industrialists from the northern province of Hebei, one of China's export powerhouses, and four city mayors who are powerful people in the Communist Party hierarchy.

Shourie gave the example of the U.S. and the European Union that were fierce business competitors and yet had 75 percent of their trade with each other.

"Unless we in Asia work with the vision this E.U.-U.S. relationship, where we both give something to achieve something larger, the Asian century dream cannot be realised."

He said this was the message from the leaders of both countries and the Joint Declaration signed by the two prime ministers on the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's current visit to China.

In his scholarly style, Shourie gave a global perspective to the competitive dimensions and strategic priorities that businessmen from both countries had set out to discuss, suggesting that if India and China saw themselves more as rivals than competitors, there were enough countries to exploit their differences in a way that none progressed.

To a question from the moderator whether India was losing its intellectual and technological talent to other countries, particularly the U.S., Shourie remarked: "We are producing enough talent to supply a little bit to the U.S."

He said Indian talent abroad, including those writing in English, have changed global perceptions of India being a country of snake charmers to one that put satellites into orbit and was an IT power.

"India today has the confidence to face the world," said Shourie, although he acknowledged that while in China the state has played a creative role in development, particularly its very efficient infrastructure that so impresses visitors, in India the state has often played a role that has held back business creativity.

He said the growth of the IT industry in India was because the state kept out it.

Source: IANS
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