If two tigers meet in a forest do they fight?
Assuming there is no tigress involved or territory to dispute, the two creatures may well go their own way with barely a sniff.
China and India are meeting each other.
China’s economy is coming along nicely. There are a few problems but people from around the world are making money willy-nilly.
India is also starting to pick up speed. Growth rates are approaching the double digits and a pool of educated workers is pushing it forward. (Jonathan Anderson, Chief Asia economist at UBS, points out the country needs to boost manufacturing to give the economy a solid footing.) With some luck, more infrastructure and not too many democratic obstructions, India could have the economic pedal to the metal within the decade.
The tigers are circling each other.
At the end, however, it is unfair to say the story will be China vs. India. China and India is a more likely prospect. There may not be a free trade agreement coming any time soon but a bilateral ease in the flow of industry, goods and services could benefit both countries.
The two tigers do have a pending 45-year-old fight over a barren and frozen Tibetan plateau but there is no reason to think that can’t be resolved with reasonable amicability.
Chinese President Hu Jintao was in India this week, only the second Chinese leader to make the trip. He shook hands with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, hinted at the possibility of free trade and suggested this is the century of Asia.
Who knows? Maybe the two men can’t stand each other but, as Singh said, “The prospects are bright for the simultaneous development of India and China.”