Rising Dragon, but Whither the Tiger?

Commentary | August 24, 2010

Writing for livemint.com, W. Pal Sidhu analyzes China’s economic and military growth in relation to the U.S. and India.  Sidhu argues that China’s biggest challenge will be to maintain its steady economic growth and simultaneously increase its military strength.

“The news last week that China surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy (after the US) coincided with the annual report the US department of defense presents to the US Congress, on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2010,” Sidhu writes.  “This happenstance reflects the direct correlation between China’s growing economic strength and its increasing military might and holds important lessons for many countries, notably India.”

While China’s growth is impressive, Sidhu points out the economic and military differences between the U.S. and China: “On the economic front, China’s annual GDP of around $5 trillion is still one-third of the US’ $14 trillion.” China’s defense budget is pegged at somewhere between $80 billion to $150 billion dollars: “Yet even this high figure dwarfs in comparison with the towering US defence budget of over $650 billion,” Sidhu explains.

China plans to expand its growth through new technologies with a focus on cyber warfare, missiles and space technology, and extended-range power projection capabilities.

Sidhu concludes with by looking at India’s progress and the challenges of its future economic and military growth. “Perhaps the most important lesson is to seek to create a cooperative security arrangement, particularly involving China, so that the prospect of war is eliminated,” he asserts. “This might prove to be the most ambitious challenge of them all.”

Click here to read Sidhu’s article on livemint.com