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Chinese find Pakistan better ally than India

Last updated on: May 15, 2010 19:42 IST

Image: Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Pakistani counterpart Zardari during a meeting in Beijing
Photographs: David Gray / Reuters

Majority of Indians regard China as a friend and partner in sharp contrast to feeling among Chinese who consider Pakistan a better partner, and place India next only to the United States and Japan in the list of nations that threatened their country the most, according to a new survey.

A series of surveys conducted between 2000 and 2009 in India and China gives a glimpse of how people of the two countries living in divergent systems perceived each other in the period when both posted good growth rates.

The surveys conducted by Beijing-based Horizon Research Consultancy was released the 2nd India-China Forum meeting in Beijing on Saturday. About 43 per cent Indians interviewed consider China as a partner, while 23 per cent regarded it as an enemy.

"Eight per cent said they don't know while 26 per cent said it was difficult to identify," Yuan Yue, chairman of the consultancy group, said presenting the details.

Yuan left the meeting immediately after his presentation and efforts by Indian correspondents in Beijing to reach him were not successful. About 4,500 Chinese were surveyed annually by his firm since 2000, he said.

"There is a consistent feeling in India that China is a friendly country," Yuan said adding that 33 per cent Indians said they believe China would over take US.


'India, the weakest among BRIC countries'

Image: Paramilitary policemen hold a Chinese national flag during a parade training session in Beijing
Photographs: Reuters

In sharp contrast, Chinese regard that Indians were not as diligent as they are and most of the Indians lived in poor conditions with many sleeping on footpaths, though Chinese believe that rich Indians are richer than that of their Chinese counterparts.

Yuan said over the years' Chinese attitude towards India has improved but their perceptions were not high about forging economic cooperation or friendship.

India figured only after Russia, North Korea, European Union and Australia in Chinese perceptions. Only 2.2 per cent Chinese regard India as the friendliest country, he said.

Japan, which was viewed poorly in Chinese perceptions due to historic discord, figured way below India. "If we compare with Pakistan, more Chinese feel that it was a better partner than India. About 4.9 per cent felt that Pakistan was a better partner for China in 2009," he said.

According to him, Chinese also regard India as the 'weakest' among BRIC nations, (Brazil, Russia, India and China). They also feel that Indians were not getting benefited much out of their country's rise as economic power.

'Chinese not willing to send their children to India'

Image: A man gets haircut featuring Tiananmen Gate in Zhengzhou
Photographs: Donald Chan / Reuters

The survey claimed that Chinese ranked the US and Japan very high in the fields of economy, education, security and health. "That is why Chinese are not willing to send their children to India for education and travel. They feel that India is not best in those sectors," Yuan said.

Chinese also rate poorly India's ability to deal with the national affairs ranking it 11th in that category. However, 55.9 per cent feel India is good at dealing with 'national fears.'

"In terms of national leadership too India figured poorly among Chinese perceptions as most of them do not think that India has good leadership nor they believe that future leadership can do better job," Yuan said.

On English, however, Chinese gave better ratings to India compared to them, saying that virtually everybody in India knew English though they found it difficult to understand spoken Indian English but Indians' written English is 'very good.'

Chinese also believe that Indians easily adapted to western culture because India was a 'colonised' country. Indians also have a better international structure, the Chinese believed according to the survey.

Yuan said the Chinese poor perceptions about India warrant the two countries to strengthen co-operation and promote more exchanges in different fields.

It also calls for 'intensified' interaction between the media of the two countries. "We need a forum for political dialogue between the two counties. We need to support more exchanges between the two countries," he said.

The two day China-India meeting which began in Beijing on Saturday was addressed among others by Indian Ambassador to China, S Jaishankar, former Chinese ambassadors to India and scholars from the two countries who specialised in Sino-Indian studies.

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