“Indians are obsessed with China, but the Chinese are paying too little attention to India,” said Minxin Pei, an economist who was born in China and who writes a monthly column for The Indian Express, a national daily newspaper. (No Indian economists are known to have a regular column in mainland Chinese publications.)
Most Chinese are unconcerned with how India is growing and changing, because they prefer to compare their country with the United States and Europe, said Mr. Pei, a professor at Claremont McKenna College near Los Angeles. He says he has tried to organize conferences about India in China but has struggled to find enough Chinese India experts.
Liu Yi, a clothing store owner in Beijing, echoed the sentiments of a dozen Chinese people interviewed in Beijing and Shanghai, in dismissing the idea that the two countries could be compared. Yes, he said India was a “world leader” in information technology but it also had many “backward, undeveloped places.”
“China’s economy is special,” Mr. Liu said. “If China’s development has a model, you could say it’s the U.S. or England.”
The sentiments are real. But the Indian assumption that the difference is the governance style of China is false. It’s the aggregate difference in human capital.
The Indian elites have presided over a situation where their nation is the world capital of cretinism.