India and China Compete for Superpower Status at the Himalayas

Categories: India

1.India and China fight for Super power tag.The two countries meet face to face only at The Himalayas, all other things for comparison will make stand these two countries individually, at their own socio-economic-political-cultural areas. To know who is super power, India or China or two know each areas of strength and weakness, let’s get into the points of concern for both to become super power.

Military Strength - Conventional and Nuclear.

2.As two rising Asian powers with high GDP growths and increasing geo-political influence, India and China have been arch rivals in their race to superpowerdom.

The race for regional dominance between these two countries has also spawned a race for militarization, with India sparing no efforts to match China’s military might. A comparative analysis is therefore overdue, to see how India and China fare against each other in their military strengths. According to United States DoD (Department of Defense) reports for 2006, China’s military expenditure is estimated to be 80 billion US dollars.

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However, the official Chinese CPC government quote is a $30 billion military expenditure (which a lot of analysts believe is under quoted).

The actual Chinese military capabilities and budget are masked in deep secrecy to prevent foreign countries having an idea of its military might…and perhaps to create the strategic advantage of uncertainty. If we were to go by the conservative official Chinese figure of $30 billion, it would put China second only to USA in global military spending. On the other side, India’s official military expenditure for 2006 is quoted at $22 billion by the Min of Finance.

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India however, does not keep a level of secrecy as cloaked as China does, as its democratic government system requires public accountability. By its official 2006 military budget figures, India stands at 9th position in global military spending.

3. India’s active military personnel numbered over 1,325,000 (approx) while China was significantly higher at 2,255,000. In air defence, China’s PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Air Force has 9,218 aircrafts of which about 2300 are combat aircrafts, operating from its 489 air bases. The Indian Air Force has 3382 aircrafts which includes 1335 combat aircrafts operating from 334 bases and its sole aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The air superiority in China’s PLAAF is maintained by its fleet of Russian Su-30 MK and indigenously built J-10 fighters. Indian Air Force, on the other hand has French built Dassault Mirage 2000s and Russian Su-30 MKI as the best aircrafts in its combat fleet (no indigenous fighters or aircrafts have been deployed by India so far). Indian Navy is the world’s eighth largest navy with a with a fleet of 145 vessels consisting of missile-capable warships, advanced submarines, the latest naval aircrafts and an aircraft carrier in its inventory.

It is experienced both in combat and rescue operations during wartime and peace as seen from its wars with Pakistan in 1971, the December 2004 Tsunami, etc. In comparison, China’s PLA Navy with its fleet of 284 vessels is quantitatively larger but lacking in actual war experience, which could undermine its strategic capability. As of 2007, China has no aircraft carriers in its naval fleet but is slated to build and induct an aircraft carrier by 2010. 4.In strategic nuclear defence and delivery systems, China’s PLA is miles ahead of India’s nuclear forces. The PLA’s stockpile is estimated to have 200-400 active nuclear warheads. In comparison, India’s strategic nuclear force is estimated to have stockpiled about 50-70 nuclear warheads.

The most powerful warhead tested by India had an yield of 0.05 megatons which is quite small compared to China’s highest yield of 4 megatons. India’s nuclear delivery system consists of bombers, supersonic cruise missiles and medium range ballistic missiles. Agni 2, India’s longest range deployed ballistic missile is capable of a range of 2500 km, carrying a single nuclear warhead of 1000 kg. In stark contrast, China’s nuclear delivery system is far more capable with multiple warheads (MIRV) ICBMs like DF-5A [12000 km] and DF-4 [7500 km]. It also fields submarine launched SLBMs like JL-2 [8500 km] and strategic fighter bombers like Su-27 Flanker in its nuclear delivery arsenal.

5.Economic theory teaches us that incentives drive decision making by a nation or an individual. In case of India, a democracy with no serious military adversary, its militarisation drive is often overshadowed by internal militancy issues and political struggles. In case of a communist China, it has a powerful military adversary in United States; the conflicts over Taiwan give China a strong incentive to beef up its military defence to counter the US military might. The situation is much similar to that of USSR vs USA Cold War, albeit on a much smaller scale. The end result is China walking far ahead of India in military might with overpowering superiority if both conventional and nuclear forces are taken into account.


6.China can be called The big tree of a forest, where plenty of things happen by nourishing other small plants and giving space for generation of more fruitful plants; that is its population. The one child per family policy is about to savor negative implications by large in future, through having more male births to continue their family and to maintain income levels, which leads to less female births, which doesn’t strike a balance between male to female sex ratio, and depicts the clear picture of future possibility to find a girl to sustain its offspring. Another major problem stands at the feet of China is, an unusual increase in the old age population which poses problem to maintain.

7.India being the next tree adjacent to the China in the forest of this world doesn’t have such limit of family members, which contributes more population and makes India the most populated country in the world in a decade span. Of this population, most of the people are below the age of 25 which adds new, promising, young talent to steer the Indian economy smoothly and also maintains female ratio which doesn’t leads to gender imbalance thus assuring working population balance to its best. Predicted to overtake China’s population in a decade, India has oceanic human capital which promises un parallel economy in the world.

Education System

8.Education being the cornerstone for any economy, China laid much emphasis and achieved an Adult literacy rate of 94% as provided in World Bank preliminary census for the year 2011. For adult girls it remains at 99% striking a mastered balance in creating requisite opportunities for equal education and employment. Though primary education is much accentuated; secondary education didn’t got much attention especially in rural areas which poses a threat to future skill pool of the country.

The major con for China in this area is its inability to produce large number of English speakers per capita. 9.India has an adult literacy rate of 74% and after taking efforts to increase the level of education for women between the age of 15 to 24, it has registered 80% literacy. Several NGO’s, corporate companies and women concerned societies are taking many initiatives for improving the literacy rate. Though urban areas strike a balance in the ratio of education for male to female; rural counterparts couldn’t fare well because of its infrastructural and social problems. One point that India has advantage over china is in the production more number of English speakers per capita with growing literacy rate.


10.China caters for its domestic market with mass production concept in producing the items such as toys, electronic devices, mobiles, T-shirts. Obviously, fast consuming goods are given priority for production which wants a mere copying or imitation in work design rather than innovation. Apart from this China faces challenge to cater for heavy industry for which expertise and skills are needed and ability to serve global clients is the one area at which they dawdle. Recent initiative to kick start in automotive sector has left better chops for china without tasting much success. 11.India focuses on Industrial area to gear up its economy.

The high technology steel produced through high spirit in India, has no comparable competitors across the world. Apart from intensified industrial production, IT sector is reined by vibrant skilled youth with wide range of attributes to contribute. As under from the above mentioned areas, it is experiencing advancement in the areas of engineering and services market and is having a consolidated automobile market in terms of production, engineering services, spares and marketing capability.


12.China has an un parallel history in reducing the poverty through equal distribution of resources, but due the long line it couldn’t be properly rationed which again struggling in the poverty pond that has been posing many non-social evils giving birth to rebellions and undesired effects like prostitution, drug mafia thus leading to HIV AIDS. Of course, there exists a difference between feeding a crow and a lion; but China government was never hopeless to feed the ever growing elephant called “Poverty” in their country. 13.India’s deeply disturbing social issue which has been deep rooted and chronic in its nature is persistent in its annual record showing no growth or probably negligible.

Illiteracy, inaccessibility to safe drinking water, medical facilities and under nourishment is the roots of this ever growing, undesirable, social element. More children per family, crop failure, loss of assets are some points that can be characterized for the rising of poverty in an alarming way; but not given much importance by Indian politicians who spend always their whole time for making the lives of common people much better! Oops! Right or wrong, we have nothing to do, but to follow the flow, because India is a democratic country.


14.China has shown a remarkable score in corruption which has been deep rooted in government offices and ministries as the adage says failing is not a problem but refusing to stand again shows the difference, China did remarkably well in the crackdown of corruption, by punishing its Supreme ourt former vice-president, Huang Songyou for life time jail with connection to his fraud and bribery offences. That’s what called accountability and the action fills trust to curb corruption in China. 15.India fares worst compared do China, by being more corrupted than China giving a strong competition for which even it doesn’t have any people representative to take accountability to clean the trash left by most familiar corrupted officials and ministers.

Neither former Telecom minster A. Raja has been awarded any punishment nor the officials and ministers involved with Common Wealth Games fraudulence and Adarsh Society scandal has been brought totally the under the control of law. The system being totally vicious, will take long time to get itself out from the ever growing poisonous pangs of the most favorite word of our Nethas called as “Corruption. “ Otherwise it continues to dwell along with other evils that exist in the country.


16.Making an in depth study and analysis of India vs. China economy seems to be a very hard task. Both India and China rank among the front runners of global economy and are among the world's most diverse nations. Both the countries were among the most ancient civilizations and their economies are influenced by a number of social, political, economic and other factors. However, if we try to properly understand the various economic and market trends and features of the countries, we can make a comparison between Indian and Chinese economy. Going by the basic facts, the economy of China is more developed than that of India. While India is the 12th largest economy in terms of the exchange rates, China occupies the third position. Compared to the estimated $1.209 trillion GDP of India, China has an average GDP of around $7.8 trillion. In case of per capital GDP, India lags far behind China with just$1016 compared to $6,100 of the latter.


17.Agriculture is another factor of economic comparison of India and China. It forms a major economic sector in both the countries. However, the agricultural sector of China is more developed than that of India. Unlike India, where farmers still use the traditional and old methods of cultivation, the agricultural techniques used in China are very much developed. This leads to better quality and high yield of crops which can be exported.

Liberalization of the market

18.In spite of being a Socialist country, China started towards the liberalization of its market economy much before India. This strengthened the economy to a great extent. On the other hand, India was very slow in embracing globalization and open market economies. While India's liberalization policies started in the 1990s, China welcomed foreign direct investment and private investment in the mid 1980s. This made a significant change in its economy and the GDP increased considerably. Difference in infrastructure and other aspects of economic growth 19.Compared to India, China has a much well developed infrastructure. Some of the important factors that have created a stark difference between the economies of the two countries are manpower and labor development, water management, health care facilities and services, communication, civic amenities and so on.

All these aspects are well developed in China which has put a positive impact in its economy to make it one of the best in the world. Although India has become much developed than before, it is still plagued by problems such as poverty, unemployment, lack of civic amenities and so on. In fact unlike India, China is still investing in huge amounts towards manpower development and strengthening of infrastructure. 20.China mostly depends on Foreign Investments and also gets debts from US for mobilizing the required resources for its production and growth and has modernized its army by seizing civilian lands which has nothing to do with stumbling financial markets.

China accelerates its growth by its export driven economy that places good at Balance of Payments, foreign exchange reserve s. 21.India is developing home grown companies to cater to its own and overseas needs and is attracting foreign investment which is offering 20% returns on investment opportunity that is the reason for Japan’s 5 billion dollar investment in industrial corridor in India. Also the takeover tool of Indian companies like TATA, Reliance is zooming growth rate with a handful promise of contribution fostered by government owned companies like ONGC, IOC.

Other Areas

22.China has got good infrastructure and a breakthrough for making The fastest train which runs at 430km/hr owns by china strengthens the transportation connectivity and infrastructure is provided ample importance by building vast roads with single way allowance for commutation thus offering more feasibility for trade relations in the country. On the other hand it is employing knowledge people, but some constraints like, non English speaking people has been recently brought into light, for which China government took initiative to train their human capital with enough English to deal with International Business.


24.India still being called as a developing country has drastically improved in providing urban infrastructure while the rural community has been neglected showing the cause in terms of economic development through industrial area. Industrial corridors and other innovative action is driving both growth and employment making it a power hub in the future with an abundant human capital both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Updated: Apr 29, 2023
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India and China Compete for Superpower Status at the Himalayas. (2016, Nov 30). Retrieved from

India and China Compete for Superpower Status at the Himalayas essay
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