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India in Asia: Rediscovering the Family Shyam Sunder, Yale University Jawaharlal Nehru University February 7, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "India in Asia: Rediscovering the Family Shyam Sunder, Yale University Jawaharlal Nehru University February 7, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 India in Asia: Rediscovering the Family Shyam Sunder, Yale University Jawaharlal Nehru University February 7, 2006

2 2 Overview Importance of economic and trade cooperation Why there has been so little economic exchange so far? What can be done to remedy this situation What could the future be?

3 3 Importance of Economic Cooperation Economists may not agree with one another on much They do agree on one thing: trade and cooperation benefits everyone Asia has made huge advances to become a world leader in high technology manufacturing, and needs markets for its products and places to invest in India has made rapid advances in software and service outsourcing, but needs markets for its services and injection of capital for manufacturing technologies and infrastructure development It is obvious that the India and Asia could benefit greatly through intensifying their economic cooperation and trade Yet trade and investment between India and Asia is trivially, embarrassingly small Why

4 4 Understanding Before Action There have been many meetings and conferences on promoting India-Asia trade Many agreements have been signed and steps taken to promote trade and investment Yet the scale is small, and growth rate low To get India-Asia trade on the world map, we need not 10 or 20 percent growth but 100 or 200 percent growth per year What will it take to achieve this? We must appreciate the nature of the obstacles before we can remove them Historical precedent is quite favorable –Regions of India, China and Japan had vibrant trade during seventh to fourteenth century AD (Tansen Sen’s book)

5 5 Some Basic Considerations Over the past decade, a beginning has been made to open an India-Asia dialog However, this dialog seems to have been focused directly on trade and investment But trade and investment takes place when people feel they know each other and are comfortable with each other In order to make a significant dent, this dialog must be conceived in broader terms than it has been in the past I shall mention a few such areas and they will require us to go beyond meetings focused directly on promotion of trade and economic cooperation among business people and government officials

6 6 When Do People Do Business with One Another? When they feel comfortable with one another: Shared trust Shared trust arises from –Shared language –Shared experiences –Shared history –Shared interests –Shared system –Shared values What can India and Asia do to promote such trust among their people

7 7 Language Chinese, Japanese and Korean share many elements of language Few Indians know, or have opportunity to learn Chinese or Japanese in schools or colleges Few Taiwanese and Japanese know any Indian languages, and many need a translator to do business in English –Are you speaking “Indian”? Need to create language programs in schools and colleges

8 8 Shared Experiences There little tourism among these countries Few personal friendships Few family or marital relationships Only a small number of business contacts Hindi and Kung Fu movies, and karaoke help, but not enough Little knowledge of likes and dislikes Little knowledge of the protocol even though there are many similarities

9 9 Shared History Fortunately, India, China and Japan share a great deal in history Buddhism permeates the culture of all three countries Ironically, it is not always recognized in India In my travels through Japan, Taiwan and Mainland China, I am constantly amazed at how much these societies share in their philosophy, values, religion, social norms, and history Yet, few people in any of these countries are aware of these deep links Most people from these countries see one another as cultural strangers and cannot penetrate through the barriers of language (West as intermediary in the East) Racial stereotypes, even prejudiced views of one another

10 10 Shared Interests Few people know about the literature of the other countries Few translations of famous literary work into local languages All such activity is focused on relationships with the west Few people know of classical or popular music, dance or theater Few people know or appreciate the food of the others

11 11 Obstacles for India These obstacles extend beyond the reach of the economic relations departments and trade organizations Language: few Indians know Chinese and only a few are learning it Colonial perspective: seeing the world through European eyes, now changing Orientation to the West: Education, travel, fashion, politics, trade Missing communication links to the east Few friendships, family relationships and no migration Widespread historical ignorance of the East and its culture (in spite of deep roots of Buddhism), not part of Indian school curricula Food: Indian visitors, many of them vegetarian, can’t find food they can be sure is really vegetarian Popular culture: little exposure (possible exception of karaoke) Literature, fashion, music, opera and other art forms: little exposure in India

12 12 Obstacles in the East Language: So much easier to do business with the mainland China in a shared language, many who know English uncomfortable speaking it Education: Most people know little about India (not part of the curriculum), stereotypes from western media Food: How long can an Asian expatriate eat without getting homesick, even in Kolkata? Unfamiliarity with the Indian legal framework and business customs Dealing with diversity within India (at least as diverse as Europe) Few friends and relatives, and little migration Little exposure to Indian culture, music, films, dance, literature Not easy to visit even the Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India

13 13 Shared System Few people understand the political structure of the other country Few people understand the legal system of the other country Few people understand the business practices of the other country Few people understand the family structure of the other country in spite of so much that is common

14 14 Share Values Fortunately, in spite of so much that we need to do to increase what these three countries share India, Japan and China do share important common values In most counties there is a belief that freedom, democracy and markets are important in themselves They also help improve the lives of their people With these values as a guiding light, a great deal can be accomplished to advance the lives of the people of these societies

15 15 The Path Ahead What can India and Asian countries do at a fundamental level to overcome these obstacles School education: languages, history College and professional education: law, business management, engineering, medicine Cultural exchanges: film, music, dance Educational exchanges: students, faculty, visits of foreign executives Specialized management programs about the business and economics of the other country Make it easier for citizens of one country to reside and work in the other for a long period of time Create conditions in which friendships and personal relationships can develop, and economic relationships tend to follow Basically, get to know each other better and become comfortable, and develop personal friendships Governments can help create these conditions so people can take over from there

16 16 The Future It is often said that the world is shrinking in distances: 22 hours from New York to Shanghai More important, the SYSTEM is shrinking More and more countries find prosperity and happiness for their people in the same system of freedom and democracy The critical part of the future lies in choosing this right system shared by India, Japan, Korea, Malayasia, Indonesia and Taiwan When we are interested in the welfare of the people system is important, country is not Country is fast being relegated to a secondary role—look at Europe

17 Thank You


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