Is India a part of Asia?

by Vinaya HS on May 7, 2006

in General Stuff

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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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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shruthi May 7, 2006 at 7:09 PM

India should not be a part of the common Asian currency, if it ever comes through.

Frankly, I have never considered India to be part of Asia. India in its own right is a sub-continent and I sometimes feel that India is better off separted out of Asia, and made into a single continent :D

I feel yuck that we are a part of the Asian continent – especially when I see India as a part of it on the world map.

Chandan May 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM

India & Indians have nothing in common with the rest of Asia which is predominantly populated by the Mongoloid race(read chinkies). Asia is primarily full of Islamic states as in the Middle east or autocratic states like China etc. I would go as far as to say that we are more in sync with the liberal countries like US, UK, Europe, Australia etc.

I believe I would be speaking for most Indians when I say, we dont think of ourselves as Asians. We are unique, we are Indian and we would like it to remain that way.

tcher December 8, 2007 at 8:04 AM

india should not be a part of asia it drifted from africa and theres a mountain to set a border from the 2 seperate contrys

Lauren July 11, 2009 at 10:49 PM

I agree with Shruthi and Chandan. As an Australian we do not regard India as part of Asia or the often combined Asia/Pacific region. India is part of the “Sub Continent”. It seems to be some English and European thing to call Indians “Asians” and call India part of Asia. In fact, Australians find it very confusing, annoying and down right bizarre when the British insist on referring to Indians as “Asians” all the time.

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