Transnational events like World Wars and Pandemics have always been the launchpads of major shake-ups in the World Order. And the COVID-19 Pandemic, affecting 210 countries and territories across the world, is a trans-national disaster like no other. It has set the launchpad for an unprecedently huge shake-up, and the post-Coronavirus world is destined to be completely different from the present world order.
With China facing massive outrage and an extremely hostile political atmosphere over its mismanagement of the Coronavirus Pandemic, it was almost always clear that humongous Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) who have been fuelling Beijing’s export-driven economy all this while, would want to exit China now.
The early signs are visible as 1,000 foreign companies are looking to exit China. Their favoured destination of relocation is unsurprisingly India, which has always been seen as an effective alternative to China. Helping India is her success in effectively combating the Wuhan virus that has wreaked havoc across the world.
The said 1,000 foreign companies are now engaged in discussions at various levels and have taken up proposals with central government departments, Indian missions abroad and state industry departments. Out of them, 300 companies are actively pursuing plans across different sectors such as mobiles, electronics, medical devices, textiles and synthetic fabric.
An official said, “About 1,000-odd companies are currently engaged in discussion at various levels such as investment promotion cell, central government departments and state governments. Out of these companies, we are targeting 300-odd companies.”
The government is now hopeful that once the Coronavirus Pandemic is in control, these discussions and proposals would take the shape of actual relocation that will establish India firmly as the new manufacturing hub for the world.
In fact, India has already started taking pro-active measures in this direction, and recently Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too asked bureaucrats to prepare a special package which could be offered to the Japanese companies that are going to exit China, following Shinzo Abe’s massive financial package for companies which are planning to shift their base out of China.
Hyundai Steel and several other South Korean companies too are considering relocating their manufacturing facilities from China to India.
What the ongoing Pandemic has done is vindicate India’s democratic model, marked by values like transparency and free expression like never before, vis-a-vis China’s opaque Communist Model.
When it came to fighting the Pandemic, the “Beijing Consensus”- the myth of the Communist model prevailing over the democratic model has fallen apart disastrously. China colluded with the WHO and kept hiding necessary information about the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The first case had appeared in China on November 17 itself, but China disclosed it to WHO only on December 31, and then for a very long time the WHO and China kept lying that there is no human to human transmission of the novel Wuhan virus. Even the reports of low fatality rate turned out to be misleading when the United Kingdom, Italy and other countries were hit by the Chinese virus.
The Coronavirus Pandemic would have never assumed the monstrous shape that it has taken, had it not been for the opaque Communist regime in China that detained and mysteriously disappeared whistle-blowers, doctors and journalists who even spoke about COVID-19.
But in India, Coronavirus has been parried by the Modi government through transparency- a free media that has been allowed to play the role of a partner in information dissemination and giving out real-time data, unlike the Chinese State media and mouthpieces like Global Times which have been working as mere extensions of spokespersons of the Communist Party of China (CCP).
India’s model has thus been far more effective in dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic, and this is not just about the international political environment becoming highly critical of the mighty Dragon, but also about the interests of corporates themselves.
For years, Beijing’s Communist model was adulated by vested interests who benefitted from China’s lack of transparency, its draconian characteristics and clearly inhumane labour laws.
But China’s love for exotic meat first created the SARS outbreak in 2003 and a much bigger Coronavirus Pandemic now, which not only leads to deaths across the world but as is now being realised also brings economic activity to a grinding halt. Corporates who once enjoyed China’s cheap labour are now paying dearly for the country’s unsanitary wet markets and Beijing’s opacity.
In India, Pandemics are not created because there are no such unsanitary wet markets and secondly there are no curbs on free speech. India is a pure democracy with a plethora of free media houses, newspapers and online portals.
The Indian mainstream media sometimes plays up threats that don’t even exist, therefore how will something like a Coronavirus get buried under the carpet?
What also complements the Indian model further is the massive display of soft power by India, being a transparent and democratic country that is willing to earn the goodwill of the rest of the world.
The way India has been supplying HCQ to other parts of the world as opposed to China’s defective kits shows that while New Delhi wants to genuinely help the international community, Beijing is interested only in crisis profiteering.
Even Indian diplomats are soft-spoken and humane in line with India’s larger ethos, while Beijing’s representatives are some of the most unparliamentary diplomats around the world who act as bullies and trolls- something that has intensified even further during the present Pandemic.
There are structural differences between India and China, and the way the Pandemic has panned out, it is India’s model that seems much more relevant for every stakeholder in the world including corporates, governments and citizens in other parts of the world.
Beijing’s rogue attitude has shown that it is an irresponsible giant- one which doesn’t deserve to act as the engine of world growth, whereas India has everything to offer from a friendly tax regime, young demography, an English-speaking population, a benevolent government and a transparent regime.
Once the Pandemic is over, Prime Minister Modi’s offer– “Come, Make in India” will resonate much more loudly with the Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) across the world.