周波:争当全球南方领导者?中国不想当,印度当不了

来源:观察者网

2024-02-06 08:28

周波

周波作者

清华大学战略与安全研究中心研究员

【编者按】2月2日,清华大学战略与安全研究中心研究员周波,在南华早报发表《China and India should be Global South anchors, not power competitors》(中国和印度应成为全球南方之锚,而非力量竞争者)的英文评论。周波认为,北京无意成为全球南方领导者,新德里虽有雄心,却没有足够实力。在动荡不安的世界中,中印两国应致力于共同成为渐露曙光的亚洲世纪的船锚。

【文/观察者网专栏作者 周波】

关于中国和印度在争当全球南方领导者的说法,甚嚣尘上。这是无稽之谈。中国无意成为全球南方的领导者,而印度即便想成为领导者,也不太可能。

中国表态自己为“全球南方的当然成员”,与自身定位为发展中国家保持一致。印度尽管尚未宣称自己是“全球南方”的领导者,其心态却昭然若揭。

去年,借新德里主办G20峰会之机,印度总理莫迪主持召开了两次“全球南方之声”峰会,邀请了125个发展中国家,却没有邀请中国、巴西、南非参加。想来可以理解:在这几个主要发展中国家面前,印度很难自诩为“全球南方之声”。

中国和印度面临同样的问题:如何说服他国从中印的角度看待中印。

中国正在日益强大。已故领导人邓小平的口头禅是“韬光养晦”,即隐藏实力,等待时机,但中国已很难再隐藏自己的实力。

比如,中国说自己将永远是一个发展中国家。发展中国家和发达国家,其实没有一个公认的严格定义。但是,如果中国在10年内超过美国,成为世界上最大的经济体,那么它还会被认为是发展中国家吗?已经有人把中国称为超级大国了。

印度面临的挑战则是让人们相信它的力量比实际上大。随着自由民主的不断衰落,自诩为世界上最大民主国家,几乎无法为印度添彩。甚至有声音质疑印度是否堪称全民主国家。许多人认为,莫迪政府是专制压迫的。

印度最新的自我标榜是“世界导师”(Vishwaguru)。问题来了,印度能教世界什么? 虽然过去几年,印度的经济增长速度超过了中国,但中国的经济规模仍然是印度的五倍。即使印度能保持约5%的年均增长率,到2050年左右,其国内生产总值也只能达到中国今天的水平。

中印GDP对比(以市场汇率下的1万亿美元为计量单位)

中国用40年时间让8亿人民摆脱贫困,更有资格与其他发展中国家分享经验教训。在外交领域,相比中国在沙特和伊朗之间的成功斡旋,印度还拿不出更好的范例。

加沙冲突凸显印度在企图领导全球南方国家上面临的困难。去年10月7日(加沙冲突爆发),莫迪在推特上写道:“在此艰难时刻,我们和以色列团结在一起”,这一表态甚至早于美国总统拜登用推特表达对以色列的支持。以色列是印度的最大武器供应国之一,印度对以色列的支持,或许是基于政治现实的考量。

但是,包括中国在内的大多数全球南方国家,都更同情巴勒斯坦人。尤其是南非,它已向国际法庭提起诉讼,指控以色列在加沙的“种族灭绝行为”。

也许,印度能为自己找到的最佳说法是成为全球北方和全球南北之间的“桥梁”,这至少含着点儿谦虚。据莫迪称,印度可以充当一座桥梁,“这样南北方之间的联系就会更加紧密,全球南方自身也会变得更强大”。

但在一个全球化的世界里,为什么全球南方国家与全球北方国家的联系,非要通过印度这座“桥”呢?唯一有点像桥的,是印度-中东-欧洲经济走廊(IMEC)倡议,印度在其中分量很重。但这是一个由美国主导的项目,由于加沙冲突可能蔓延到整个地区,该倡议可能永远不会落地。

莫迪政府的政策,往好了说是务实,往坏了说是投机。印度正在不断贴近美国。随着中美竞争加剧,华盛顿自然需要新德里加入诸如“四边安全对话”等圈子,就像冷战时期需要用北京制衡莫斯科一样。

问题是印度准备为此付出怎样的代价。自冷战以来,新德里一直与莫斯科保持着良好关系,并将在未来很长一段时间内,继续依赖俄罗斯的石油、天然气和俄制武器装备—印度军队使用的大部分武器都来自俄罗斯。随着印度与美国关系升温,印俄关系将随之降温,印度能怎样和俄罗斯渐行渐远?这也是一大挑战。

印度与其最大最直接的邻国中国的关系则更为棘手。两国在有争议的边境地区有过多次军事对峙,包括2020年的致命冲突。印度视自己为印度洋的“纯粹安全提供者”,对中国在此地区加强经济和军事存在倍感焦虑。

印度还多次反对斯里兰卡允许中国军舰停靠补给,强迫斯里兰卡政府出台禁止中国船只停靠的禁令。与此相反,中国对印度加入上海合作组织(SCO)和金砖国家组织(BRICS,也包括巴西、俄罗斯和南非)表示欢迎,中国在这两个组织中都举足轻重。

中印两国前途光明。邓小平在20世纪80年代末向拉吉夫·甘地描述的亚洲世纪,正渐露曙光。中国已成长为多极世界的一极,印度有朝一日也可能成为另一极。如果这对全球南方国家来说是件好事,那么中印这两个亚洲巨人就必须在这个动荡的世界中致力于成为船锚,而不是成为竞争对手。

(翻译:韩桦)

英文全文:

Much has been said about how China and India are jostling for leadership of the Global South. This is bunkum. China harbours no intention of becoming the Global South leader, and India is unlikely to become one even if it wants to.

China describes itself only as “a natural member of the Global South”, in line with what it calls itself: a developing country. But while India has not yet declared itself the leader of the Global South, its ambition is hardly veiled.

Last year, with New Delhi hosting the G20 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened two Voice of Global South Summits for 125 developing countries without inviting China, Brazil or South Africa. This is almost understandable: India could hardly puff up with self-importance as the voice of the Global South in the presence of these leading G20 developing nations.

China and India have the same problem in trying to convince others to see them as they see themselves. As China gets stronger, despite the late Deng Xiaoping’s mantra of tao guang yang hui, meaning to hide your strength, bide your time, it can hardly hide its strength any more.

For example, China has said it will remain a developing country forever. There is indeed no strictly agreed definition for a developing or developed country. But if China overtakes the United States in 10 years to become the world’s largest economy, could it then still be a developing country? Some are already calling China a superpower.

For India, the challenge is to encourage a belief that it is bigger than it actually is. With liberal democracy in steady decline, India’s self-description as the world’s largest democracy adds little dazzle. Besides, there are doubts that India is a full democracy and many consider Modi’s government repressive.

India’s latest self-branding is “Vishwaguru”, or world teacher. The question is what India can teach the world. While India has outpaced China in economic growth over the last few years, China’s economy remains five times as large. Even if India could sustain an average annual growth of about 5 per cent, its gross domestic product will still only be where China’s is today in around 2050.

China, which spent four decades lifting 800 million of its people out of poverty, is more qualified to share its lessons learned with other developing countries. In diplomacy, India has yet to set a better example than Beijing’s successful mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The war in Gaza is showing up India’s difficulties in trying to assume the leadership of the Global South. On October 7, Modi wrote on X: “We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour” before US President Joe Biden tweeted his support for Israel. India’s backing of Israel, one of its biggest weapon suppliers, is probably a reflection of its realpolitik.

But most Global South countries, including China, are more sympathetic to the Palestinians. South Africa, in particular, has launched a case in the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of “genocidal acts” in Gaza.

Perhaps the best narrative India has found for itself is in being a bridge between the Global North and South; this at least carries a grain of modesty. According to Modi, India can serve as a bridge “so that linkages between the North and South can become stronger and the Global South can itself become stronger”.

But in a globalised world, why would any Global South country need to reach the Global North through an Indian bridge? The only thing that looks somewhat like a bridge is the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) in which India has a key role. But this is a US-led project. And it will probably never come to fruition due to the Gaza conflict, which threatens to spread across the region.

Modi’s government is at best pragmatic and at worst opportunistic. India is drawing closer to the US. With China-US competition intensifying, Washington naturally needs New Delhi, in groupings such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, just as it needed Beijing during the Cold War to counterbalance Moscow.

The question is what price India is ready to pay. New Delhi has maintained good relations with Moscow since the Cold War and, for a long time, will continue to depend on Russian oil, gas and spare parts for the Russian weapons that make up the bulk of what’s used in its military. But this relationship will cool as India warms up to the US. The challenge is in how India can step back gradually from Russia.

The more difficult relationship is with China, India’s largest direct neighbour. Their disputed border areas have led to many military stand-offs, including a deadly clash in 2020. In the Indian Ocean, where India considers itself a “net security provider”, it frets about China’s increased economic and military presence.

India repeatedly objected to Sri Lanka allowing Chinese military vessels to dock to replenish supplies, forcing the government to introduce a ban on Chinese ships. China, in contrast, has welcomed India’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Brics (which also includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa), two organisations in which China has a crucial role.

The future bodes well for both China and India. The Asian century that Deng Xiaoping described to Rajiv Gandhi in the late 1980s is dawning. China has grown into a pole in our multipolar world and India could one day become another. If this is to be a blessing for the Global South, both Asian giants must serve as anchors rather than competitors in our volatile world.

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