Last meeting of BRICS countries held in Sanya shed more light on the emerging countries’ weight in the international arena. Their common interests still prevail on their differences: this is the final and widespread analysis of the meeting.
Out of its many by-products, the leadership that Beijing might eventually take among the group catches the general attention, since China’s Gdp is bigger than the other four countries’ combined. Fear of a de-facto dominance is felt mainly in India, whose proximity with the only other Asian member of the group is perceived with mixed feelings. The debate among the politicians and the intelligentsia sprung out again. The matter is somehow ironic: the more India grows, the more China becomes unreachable. If Delhi achieves an 8% Gdp’s surge, Beijing replies with 10%.
A nationalistic frustration is common, as it were impossible to catch up. Despite epoch-making progress, better living conditions, higher international reputation, India still lags behind. If China were not so good, the universal admiration should have been for the sub-continent. But, is the matter so crucial? Is it wise to run after a fast Dragon with a mighty Elephant to cut the finishing line?
Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize for economics, stated that comparing different rates of growth is a silly and useless challenge. India should concentrate on its main issues: poverty, undernourishment, illiteracy, and access to consumption for indigent people. To tackle these problems, growth is crucial; competition with China is a wrong target. Ms Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Party president, echoed his words: “We are right to celebrate our high rate of economic growth … [but] let us not forget that growth is not an end in itself. Much more important to my mind is what kind of society we aspire to be”. She recalls the increasing concern that the economic achievements come also with the increasing loss of India’s traditional values.
Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister, is caught in the middle of this dispute. He knows that money is both a mean and a value, that the stability of his country might eventually overcome China’s speed. Still, he is prepared enough to acknowledge that without materialistic outcomes India now enjoys, his political career is in danger. His objective is neither to imitate China, nor to overlook its experiment. Indians might be different, but often they vote with their pocket.