In the midst of the India-Bharat naming controversy, China offers guidance to India, suggesting that rather than focusing on a name change, India should prioritize comprehensive economic reforms and enhancing its global influence.
As New Delhi prepares for the upcoming G20 Summit, tensions have arisen over the use of the term ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’ in official invitations. In response, China, through its media outlet, Global Times, has made a statement emphasizing India’s need for substantial economic reform.
The Global Times opined, “What truly matters is whether India can embark on a comprehensive reform of its economic system, a task that can be traced back to pre-1947 when the nation gained independence.”
The report further stated, “Without revolutionary economic reform, India cannot expect revolutionary development.”
The diplomatic row was sparked by G20 dinner invitations referring to President Droupadi Murmu as ‘President of Bharat,’ deviating from the customary ‘President of India’ designation.
China’s perspective is that India should leverage the growing global attention it receives and translate it into a driving force for economic growth. The question raised by China is, “What message does New Delhi aim to convey to the world during the impending G20 summit?”
Moreover, China views the debate over a name change as part of India’s broader effort to shed colonial-era vestiges. It acknowledges India’s ambitious economic reforms since 1991 but expresses concern about India’s recent shift towards trade protectionism.
The report noted, “These economic matters are of greater significance than deliberations on a country’s name change.”
In addition to addressing the naming dispute, the report touched upon India’s stringent measures against certain Chinese companies, understanding India’s hesitancy to fully open its markets but urging India to recall the economic growth impetus associated with past liberalization efforts.
China’s counsel to India regarding its G20 presidency includes demonstrating a commitment to economic reform, expanding openness, attracting foreign investment, and fostering a fair business environment for international investors.
Notably, there have been previous calls within the BJP to rename the country from ‘India’ to ‘Bharat.’ During the recent monsoon session of Parliament, BJP MP Naresh Bansal referred to ‘India’ as a symbol of “colonial slavery” and advocated its removal from the Constitution. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat has also advocated for the use of ‘Bharat’ over ‘India.’
As the naming dispute unfolds, China’s emphasis on economic reform takes center stage, highlighting the complexity of diplomatic relations and economic priorities in the run-up to the G20 Summit.