Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
- China is thrice the size of India at about 9.6 million sq. km vs. 3.2 million sq. km with only a little more population than ours.
- Historically, the Chinese name for India was Tianzhu – meaning heaven. In return, Indians called them by chin (after their most glorious empire – Qin) that eventually got caught by rest of the world now.
- Although Indians incessantly talk & compare with China, the Chinese understandably don't compare themselves with India. It is because they want to emulate/compare themselves with Europe/US than a poorer country they have beaten in race since 1978.(everyone wants to be compared with someone better than them).
- Just like how we say Namaste (with folded hands), Chinese traditional greeting comprises of bowed head and folded palms.
- Whether it be gold buying, sending students abroad, scouting for resources in Africa/Latin America or wooing foreign investors both India and China compete vigorously to rank in 1 or 2.
- India's largest river – Brahmaputra originates in China (Tibet) and makes a complete 180-degree turn near India-China border to enter India in a spectacular fashion.There are constant rumors in India that China could dynamite the hill in the picture with nuclear weapons to redirect the river.
- Although India and China had very comparable economies through history, China is now 4 times as rich as India. ($7.5 trillion in GDP vs. $1.8 trillion in GDP). The biggest difference came since 1978 when China started its capitalistic reforms.
- Although India and China share 3380 km of land border, there are only 3 open trading posts between the two countries – Shipki La, Lipulkeh and Nathu La.
(India-China border at Nathu La in eastern India)
India and China had remarkably parallel histories.
- China was first unified in 221 BC under the Qin (chin) dynasty that had a remarkable effect on their culture. India's equivalent occurred around the same time with the Maurya dynasty that India's first Imperial dynasty.
- China's greatest religious advancements were made in the 6th century BCE with Confucianism and Taoism, at the same time India was creating its philosophical religious movements – Buddhism, Jainism.
- Both nations hit their lowest points in 19th century during the colonial era. Both nations got liberated within 2 years of each other – Indian in August 1947 and China in October 1949. In their modern incarnation, both nations were first headed by socialistic leaders (Nehru and Mao) who fumbled with their economies.
- The father of modern China – Sun Yat Sen, was born only 3 years before Mahatma Gandhi – father of modern India.
- In both the nations, the biggest chunk of the population and historic empires were concentrated in north/east. However, in the modern era the economic forces have shifted towards south
- India and China had their first and only war in 5000 years of coexistence in October 1962. It was a two week long war, when our border forces clashed in the Himalayas. Although India didn't lose any territory in the resounding defeat (the only military defeat that modern India has faced so far), the war opened India's minds to building a strong military force with nuclear capabilities.China made a quick retreat as US was ready to use its nuclear weapons in aid of India.
- Presently there are two main contentious boundaries that India and China have.China and India both claim the shaded regions. While India controls the region on the right (Arunachal Pradesh), China controls the region on the West that is a pat of Kashmir.
- China is mainly divided into provinces (where Han Chinese are predominant) and autonomous regions that have significant non-Han population and have extremely rugged terrain.They also include in their map a few territories owned/claimed by India (in blue shade).
India and China have a signficant scope for collaboration as both nations are threatened by global terrorism, piracy and oil imports.
The future of both countries depend on how the dragon and elephant are able to get along with each other.