MRI Forum 28

"China – India relationship: pragmatic or strategic partners?"

by Jean-François Huchet


Summary of the Presentation

Despite a closer relationship in the diplomatic front and a fast growing bilateral trade, the two Asian economic giants are still competing on many issues. Divergent economic and industrial strategy, competition on energy sourcing, and competing interests in their participation into regional forum (ASEAN, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) makes difficult for the two countries to build a strategic partnership. Beyond the cliché on a possible cooperation between “the factory of the world” ( China ) and “the office of the world” ( India ), Chinese and Indian firms are competitors both on their respective internal market as well as on global markets. Despite a fast growing bilateral trade, some protectionist reaction are arising in India against a Chinese proposal in favour of a free trade zone agreement made by President Hu Jintao during his last State visit to India last November. Nevertheless, as the two countries are going to weight in the coming future a significant part of the Asian and the world trade and investment, the evolution of their economic and political relationship will have a great impact in the region.

Profile of the Speaker

Jean-François Huchet is currently Director of the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China based in Hong Kong (Centre d'Études français sur la Chine contemporaine, CEFC), editor of China Perspectives and Professor of Economics at the University of Rennes 2 (on leave). He was based in Asia for 14 years and has occupied several academic positions as research fellow at the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China in Hong Kong between 1997 – 2001. He was also research fellow at the Maison franco-japonaise in Tokyo between 1993 – 1997 and researcher at Beijing University from 1987 and 1991. He has received his PhD of economics from the University of Rennes 1. He has just published with Joël Ruet and Xavier Richet, Globalisation of firms in China, India and Russia, Academic Foundation, New Delhi , 2007.