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Less chance of Sino-India conflict due to trade tries: Tharoor

india Updated: Oct 30, 2011 17:38 IST

Growing trade ties and "economic interpenetration" have reduced chances of a military conflict between India and China though a couple of negatives seemed to imply that "some" in Beijing wanted to 'needle' New Delhi, former Union minister Shashi Tharoor said on Sunday.

"We have seen a couple of negatives such as the border row which remains unsettled and they (Beijing) seem to show no urgency to settle it. And certainly the difficulties we have encountered (with China) with our oil exploration on Vietnamese waters...these incidents seem to imply that there is a desire on part of some in China to needle us," he said.

Delivering a talk on "India- An Emerging Super Power", organised by Rotary International here, the former minister of state for external affairs, however, said there was a positive side to the ties between the two neighbours that was not talked about much.

"Our trade with China has gone up in the last 20 years by 230 times (at) $61 billion and we are expecting it to go to $100 billion by middle of this current decade," the Congress Lok Sabha member said.

He said tourists going to Kailash and Manasarovar had no problems due to full cooperation from the Chinese.

Indian companies like Infosys have opened branches in Shanghai and hired Chinese people. "Chinese firms such as Huwaez themselves are coming to India. So you got a level of economic interepenetration that it seems to me that it makes it even less sensible than already was for any potential military adventure. It makes no sense as too much is at stake," he said.

However, the former UN diplomat-turned politician warned against any complacency, saying none should get an impression that India was weak.

"We should keep our guard up, prepare our defences.... We should never be so weak that we encourage people to say these fellows are weak and we can knock them over. That we should never do," he said.

On India's other neighbours, while Tharoor did not want to talk much about Pakistan, he said countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal were "well-disposed" towards the country.

To meet the growing food demand, he proposed the option of import as well as purchasing large tracts of land in countries like Africa and bring the cultivated produce back to India.