China's vision is to dominate the world's economy with its strategic investments and past currency manipulations:
It is foxily forcing indebtedness on smaller countries like Pakistan & Sri Lanka;
It is retaining and leveraging technology that it gets exposed to in trade (even as India spends billions in technological purchase but doesn't insist on comparable transfer of technology. Idiots)
It is is doing everything possible to remain the factory of the world - either with currency manipulation in the past or by taking control over strategic global resources (read about what it is doing to corner global supply of strategic mineral resources - lithium in australia, canada & africa; cobalt in Congo,etc) ... Essentially, CHINA has a vision. However repressive and terrible for others or its own people, it has a vision to win in the new zero-sum game of global power. (It need not have been a zero-sum game. But right wing assholes across the world are hell bent on seeing others suffer rather than to help others even if the later is cheaper and easier to do. Humanity is spewing out the worst of our instincts and beliefs and hurtling itself towards destruction.)
Their journey started decades ago with a strategic vision. India had a vision too in its socialist past, but post liberalisation, it became blind with possibilities and ended up choosing no strategic path in the 1990s.
China saw an opportunity in cost advantage in global market, it leveraged it to get into higher value manufacturing and developing (by hook or crook) its own IP and is consolidating power with every play.
What has India been doing all this while?
After liberalisation, we had an initial opportunity of building a service economy. Economists even thought of it being an inevitability - India as global service powerhouse, China as global factory. But what has India done of that opportunity?
To graduate in the service economy value chain, we need educated, healthy population - people who are worldly aware, who can think logically, who can entertain multiple perspectives, who can speak in multiple languages, who can code, who can work with people across the cultures, who can learn and adapt to new innovations....
It has been clear to the strategy and policy wonks since our independence, that for India to become prosperous and secure, we need to invest in our people - education and healthcare must be our top priority. But we have not.
Instead we are doubling down on our ignorance, our bigotry. It is in the nature of political parties to try and divide people to gain power easily.The civil society needs to do more to question the government, but we don't. It is a failure of Indian people, its civic leaders, its media and its judiciary.
The dumber the people, easier it is to rule over them instead of serving them. And yes, you are dumb if you fall for bigotry every time something of consequence needs to be hidden from public view for the convenience of power brokers to loot the national resources.
Real issue: The robber mine barons - reddy brothers getting scot free out of jail on the eve of election, Cauvery water issue....
Ruling party: 'But nehru bhagat singh se nahi mila.'
People: Nehru was good/ bad. Modi is right/ wrong. Meanwhile, BJP coffers are full, corrupt businessmen are back in the game, water dispute resolution is no where in sight.
Real issue: Women safety, BJP MLA rapes a girl and kills her protesting father and gets jailed only after months after overwhelming media attention, The harrowing Kathua rape spin doctoring perpetrated by saffron media, increasing moral policing, Indian cities no longer safe....
Ruling party: padmavat! tradition! etc
People: "I support the director/ hooligans/ culture" etc. In the meanwhile, the culture protectors get away with rape, theft and general consolidation of power over common citizen. Goons roam around with swords on street and these days no one questions them. Because, goons if wearing saffron, can be more righteous than anyone else now. It is amazingly easy for power hungry goons now - they exercise oppressive power while playing the victim.
Real Issue: political funding made opaque. corruption made easy by govt. autocratic, discrimination inducing, vulnerability-inducing Aadhar card project.
Ruling party: mandir wahi banaenge.
People: Mandir wahi banaenge/ secularism etc. While government continues to push through hugely autocratic/ power enhancing bills that hurt the public and enrich the elite, the civic society remains confused and hence ineffective in remedying the situation. India becomes a surveillance regime for a powerless people even as the powerful people become more opaque in their dealings. Is that a democracy?
Real issue: Demonetisation made lives miserable for a lot of common folks. It forced daily wage earners to destitution. It plunged the economy in recession. The real cost of demonetisation is hard to fathom because our reporters hardly leave the cities.
Ruling Party: gau raksha! cows need to be protected from muslims who eat them.
People: Gai hamaari maata hai/ i like my beef burger etc. People get lost in these useless arguments. why let these non-issues Become issues? Why not come together and hold the government accountable for the misery it has unleashed on its people?
Real Issue: Overwhelming, killer pollution
Ruling Party: __________ (deadly silence)
People: ___________ ( too ignorant to worry or organise meaningfully)
Indians, even the educated ones from IIMs and IITs, are hardly critical thinkers. Most Indians are rats racing ahead of each other with their narrow mindsets, eating at each other's legs. Humanities, sociology have never been subjects that Indian leaders have respected. So we have an 'educated class' that has no capability to see propaganda from truth. It gets swayed by hatred as quickly as the uneducated ignorant person elsewhere. Without appreciation of these subjects, a coder remains a coder, never seeing the potential of his skills - lack of education in philosophy, psychology, means that he remains a wage earning coder instead of becoming the next zukerberg, jimmy wales or muhammand yunus.
India is busy losing to the internal internecine skirmishes. India's biggest enemy isn't china or even pakistan. it is its ignorance and its lack of truly educated and healthy population.
We are squanderers of opportunities. Our potential will remain unmet, if we don't invest in educating every citizen and making her/ him capable to think critically, exercise her citizenship powers and learn from global perspectives.