Know Thy Neighbour: Growth of India and China—Socio-Cultural Precepts and Propositions*

Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy is the Director General of the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile [+]
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  • March 2019

    It is very important for large and populous neighbours such as India and China to have a better understanding of one another’s history, culture and value systems. Perhaps no two peoples in the world are as similar as Indians and Chinese in terms of the agrarian foundations of our societies and many of our traditions with roots in Hindu-Buddhist rituals and philosophy, and even the undue importance attached in the past to the male child. At the same time, we are also dissimilar: we use our hands to ingest food, they use chopsticks; we use the slow flame to cook whereas they use a high flame; we are direct in speech and given to individualism whereas they are indirect and place group interests above that of the individual; the concept of ‘loss of face’ in China is much stronger than that of ‘izzat’ in India. We are a democracy. China has a centralised system that could not be more different. And how we achieved nationhood is also very different.