Why India is Not China: Let us be Proud About That

Updated: May 15

Kartikey Misra

Global Legal Innovation Advisory


Whether India will be able to provide easy access to Land for Factories Leaving China?

I know there has been a lot of discussion and speculation regarding India’s role in the post-COVID-19 world. It is a fact that India has the capability and the workforce to counter the Middle kingdom’s manufacturing hegemony, but the question is whether we will be able to do so? In my opinion, the answer is- No! I wish we could.

There are many reasons for it and there is no easy all-encompassing explanation. Our country is large and diverse so are our problems. Primarily, it is important to understand that India and China are fundamentally opposed to each other- India is a democracy with the institutions that are no match to China’s authoritarian regime where they are aimed at getting ‘things done’.

This is something we all Indians should be proud of despite all the patronising comments of how our country is becoming fascist, the ground reality is very different.

The other reason why I think India will not be able to fill the shoes of China as a manufacturing hub, “if” India and other global powers try to curb Chinese hegemony, is due to our history and red tape. I will mention only two examples of that are:

  1. POSCO, the Korean company signed a pact with the state of Odisha in 2005 for a plant, which was never given to them. POSCO spent the next decade in legal, media battles over the land for the plant with villagers, politicians, farmers, etc.

  2. Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor: the ambitious project of 2006. What? you don’t know about it? Why? It has lost its charm - not many investors, lack of motivation, and laxity of the railway. Modi government had no hopes from this project so nothing new is being done. (Read about its failures)

Things changed a bit when Modi came to power but our bureaucracy is that Gordian knot that cannot be untied.

No matter what people say about Modi’s India and ease of business, the truth is that the NDA government since 2014 has been strongly led by bureaucrats, where political representatives except the PM has no say. The people who do not agree with this are naïve and probably the people, who are excited that India will take over China post-Covid19.

India is destined to prosper and attain the same economic glory that attracted the world once. Until then we will have to leave this mentality of taking over or defeating anyone, this is not our culture. Things will happen in their own time, let’s wait and ensure that the difference between China and India, which I mentioned above, remains.

We must not forget that this difference, which many see as a weakness has its own merits. The same bureaucracy and litigation, which seems to hamper development also defend the rights of poor farmers, the civil society in India is alive and kicking, which is not present in CCP’s-Middle Kingdom. India is not China- we should be proud of that.

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