By Anirudh Ramakrishna Phadke
While still many parts of the world are accusing China for the COVID-19 pandemic, the dragon has started formulating its next conquest. In late October 2020, Beijing held its fifth plenary session which discussed the draft proposal for the 11th five-year plan & the 2035 grand vision. The planning committee took broad strokes, covering many areas and issues without laying the implementation mechanisms. Nevertheless, the plans will profoundly impact neighbouring economies and the Chinese itself.
The Vision & Mission of the Documents
The official documents are comprehensive but quite vague, containing 15 broad areas & 60 issue points. Based on the analysis of experts, it can be deduced that China 2035 vision, will have three focal areas.
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- Achieving a steady GDP growth target.
- Expanding the domestic market based on consumption & innovation.
- Enhancing security & sustainability in China.
China no longer sets numerical GDP growth. However, according to the statements at the Fifth Plenum, it has planned great leaps in its economic and technological capabilities, and doubling its GDP per capita. China will also focus on boosting domestic and international dual circulations. The goal is to decrease its dependence on global market while opening new destinations for foreign investments, imports and innovation.
Further the plan reveal that China underscored the commitment to construct an ‘ecological civilization’ through land protection, green economy and waste management. It has deployed stipulated measures on public health systems and mechanisms to address against major natural disasters.
The 2035 Vision’s Impact on East Asia
China’s development objectives are synergistic with economies in East Asia. China’s investments and trade have grown exponentially within this region. Under its BRI investments have flown consistently to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. In Post-Covid Era, China is likely to seek a stronger security presence in its overseas projects, which may deepen the deployment of military forces in these regions.
Apart from completing the massive infrastructures in East Asia, it deepens the debt trap diplomacy. China will become more proactive in supporting multilateral mechanisms and promoting cooperation on critical issues to enhance regional stability. The documents have stated that independent and robust science and technology sectors are the ‘strategic anchor’ of national development in China, and the country needs to strengthen innovation and placement in core technology fields. The dragon will seek to restructure supply chains that leverage on production advantages inside China & increases its resilience when cooperating with foreign nations.
In terms of health sector and crisis management, the pandemic has demonstrated that China & East Asia, share strong capacities. They can jointly grow fast, involving dense networks across government companies & think tanks in East Asian countries.
How will India Respond?
In theoretical terms India can benefit from China’s 2035 vision. However, the geopolitical tensions between these two countries make them sworn enemies and develop their own counter-strategies to outrun one another. India will likely to work out every diplomatic move to bring down China in international scenario by discouraging technologies operating from mainland China. In the upcoming decade India will closely work with Japan, South Korea, and other advanced democracies to develop parallel technology, infrastructure, & supply networks. India will leverage its technology and resources to offer competing projects among its fellow democracies in Asia and Europe to outrun China in this long term 2035 vision.
(The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author’s)
Anirudh Ramakrishna Phadke is the founder & chief-editor of The Viyug. He is currently doing MSc Strategic Studies at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore.