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“Chindia”: the new regionalism may be corporate-driven

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Most of the 60 civil society representatives, who attended the 2nd General Forum of Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy in Bangkok, agreed that the fast growth of China and India in the region, known as “Chindia” can be another corporate-driven globalisation.
(Bangkok) The fast growth of China and India in the region, known as “Chindia”, may be another corporate-driven globalisation that can be a threat to smaller countries, heard participants at Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA) 2nd General Forum, held in Bangkok recently.

China and India have been popularly dismissed as the “factory” and “back office of the world” respectively. These two future super powers have become a major concern for many anti-globalisation activists, who see them start to play big roles in economy and politics of the region.

Presenting his paper on “The challenges to economy, security and democracy in India”, Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director of People’s Watch, said that “India is a growing hegemonic power”. However, he asked how truly dangerous were they (India) outside (in the region).

Pointing out that India has invested mainly in the countries where Indians live, he added, “We are not a threat to the rest of Asia; there are enough problems inside of the country”.

Tiphagne said this during the roundtable discussion on “Emerging challenges to civil society and social movement in Asia – focusing on Chindia (China and India)”, held on 2 February, first day of the forum. Two other SAPA members also presented their papers on the emerging regionalism.

Dorothy-Grace Guerrero, the Senior Research Associate of Focus of the Global South (FOCUS), while presenting her paper on “Understanding China’s New Role in the Global Political Economy”, raised the issue of China’s increasing power in the region but whether it would make other developing countries more prosperous, more stable, and equitable.

Meanwhile, Walden Bello, the Executive Director of Focus of the Global South (FOCUS), talked about China’s relationship with Southeast Asia. “While Indian economy remains relatively closed to its domestic demand, the export sector is the driver of growth for China”, he said in his presentation.

Giving examples of free trade agreements between Southeast Asian countries and China, he added that its result would likely be a “drastic imbalance”.

“Smaller countries may simply end up being used economically, territorially, and politically,” he stressed, due to the “pursuit of national economic interest, not regional cooperation for development”.