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From an article in today’s Times of India, Mumbai edition.
- Asian nations do not want India to be a part of the common currency group
- Though the finance minister says India is indifferent to it, New Delhi would love to be part of the Asian Currency Unit
- Other Asian nations find it hard to relate to India, which has carved out its independent identity in the West
Some Asian countries are mooting a common currency—a regional version of the Euro—but they do not want to have India in this arrangement. Publicly, Indian policy makers maintain a neutral stance—finance minister P Chidambaram says he is neither happy nor unhappy about it. But those in the know of things say that as part of its new Look East policy, the powers that be would love to be part of the Asian currency unit (ACU) plan.
As the four-day annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) got over here [in Hyderabad] on Saturday, it was quite apparent that neither do Indians subscribe strongly to an Asian identity nor does the rest of Asia see India as part of the same group.
TOI did a random check with delegates.
“India has always interacted more with western nations than fellow Asian countries. We hardly even know about India. It’s difficult to think of India as part of Asia,’’ said Taiwan’s Steven Chung. Indonesian delegate Erry Frimansyah also felt so. A Chinese delegate explained: “China is the face of Asia being one of the first countries to put Asia on the world map. Asians associate China with the continent than India, which developed quite independently.’’
Due to rapid economic growth in east and south east Asian countries, outsiders have started thinking of Asia as encompassing only Japan, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia and the like. Many of these countries have seen an influx of people of Chinese origin in the last 100 years, which is why for outsiders Asia conjures up the image of a Chinese girl. Added to this, most Asian institutions like the ADB are dominated by countries like Japan.
“But things are changing,’’ says Chiranjib Basu. “Twenty years ago, India was a distant country. But today because of the IT prowess and economic development, Asians are looking respectfully at India. It’s a matter of time before they look at India with awe,’’ he said.
End of article.
I would like to hand over to each of the quoted delegates—except to Chiranjib Basu—a copy of Amartya Sen’s impressive writing in “Identity and Violence” on why Asians cannot get rid of the “impress the West” mindset.
What do you think?
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