The Other East
Lost amidst the thousands of articles written about the rise of the Chinese economic machine is the subtle contrast in style and priorities of another Asian economic force: India. While generally regarded as the leader in outsourced call centers and some forms of software code development, India has quietly risen to a preeminent position challenging the premiere Asian economies such as Japan. Furthermore its regional role has steadily grown making it an important player in the world economy and positioning India itself as a deal maker in the geopolitical rise of central Asian oil economies—and indeed as a deal maker with China in procuring ever greater access to global petroleum reserves.
India occupies a unique place in Asian economic development based in part on its colonial past. With a strong basis rooted not just in the English language but also on the English judicial system, India has enjoyed unparalleled success in alliances with U.S. and European firms. Additionally, that past has also allowed the country to develop and nurture a stock market and entrepreneurial class that has expanded its access to capital and international markets and strategic partnerships.
In fact this growth offers interesting parallels with that other Asian growth machine: China. Perhaps the most interesting fact surrounding the India-China dichotomy is not just in how these two nations differ but also in how they both have come to rely on one another to secure their energy security interests. Although it’s unlikely that further intra-national cooperation will lead to a form of codependence, what is often overlooked is the degree of sophistication shown by this “alliance” in securing each nation’s interests while at the same time weakening the position of sellers by lessening the number of competing bidders.