When Prime Ministers of India and China raised toasts on Sunday in Beijing, they were in fact reviving memories of the ancient and historic Silk Road. The Silk Road, or Silk Route, was central to cultural interaction and connecting East and West by linking traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from China to the Mediterranean Sea…extending over 8,000 km (5,000 miles) on land and sea.
“Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Indian subcontinent, and Rome, and helped to lay the foundations for the modern world.”
Maybe instead of continuing with its seige mentality and draining its precious resources in fighting futile ‘wars’, thus destabilising the world further, the USA should work on extending the old ‘Silk Road’ beyond Rome and into Americas to improve trade and commerce for the wellbeing of humanity.
“The first major step in opening the Silk Road between the East and the West came with the expansion of Alexander the Great’s empire into Central Asia. In August 329 BC, at the mouth of the Fergana Valley in Tajikistan he founded the city of Alexandria Eschate or ‘Alexandria The Furthest’. This later became a major staging point on the northern Silk Route.
“In 323 BC, Alexander the Great’s successors, the Ptolemies, took control of Egypt. They actively promoted trade with Mesopotamia, India, and East Africa through their Red Sea ports and over land. This was assisted by a number of intermediaries, especially the Nabataeans and other Arabs…Soon after the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, regular communications and trade between India, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, China, the Middle East, Africa and Europe blossomed on an unprecedented scale.
“Under its strong integrating dynamics on the one hand and the impacts of change it transmitted on the other, tribal societies previously living in isolation along the Silk Road or pastoralists who were of barbarian cultural development were drawn to the riches and opportunities of the civilizations connected by the Silk Road, taking on the trades of marauders or mercenaries….”
If the US of A wants to become a super power, in the real sense of the word, it should stop creating mayhem in other countries. Instead it should familiarise itself with the nuances of the old ‘Silk Road’ strategy of peaceful and intelligent trade and commerce practices. That policy is a sure winner rather than a sledgehammer approach to make other nations/leaders follow its dictates.
If India and China can now get over the bitterness created by the hard fought war in the 1960s and launch a new partnership in trade and commerce, why can’t the USA forget its recent bitter experiences and get out of its myopic military approach to everything in life…What with fears being expressed about the increasing possibility of the once rich nation getting into a recession…
China has taken some small but significant steps to normalize its ties with India. On Monday, it indicated its willingness to support New Delhi’s aspirations for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, pledged to promote bilateral ties in civil nuclear energy, expressed a desire to deepen military ties, and showed a new understanding of concerns about the danger of terrorism and unfolding situation in Pakistan, reports The Times of India.
“Besides, China also renewed its commitment to abide by the 2005 agreement not to include populated areas within the purview of any settlement of the border dispute after having chaffed at it.
“The new approach revealed in the deliberations Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has been welcomed by the Indian side as marking a recognition of India’s rise as a political and economic power and Beijing’s resultant desire for engagement.
” ‘We are partners, not rivals. We each have our own strengths. We must learn to respect each other, trust and understand each other without asking ‘who would outdo whom’,’ said Wen after the release of the joint statement christened ‘A Shared Vision for the 21st Century of the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China’, perhaps to connote the wish to sustain the improvement in ties.
“Singh seemed equally enthused by the outcome as he said the ‘constructive’ and ‘forward looking’ talks gave him cause for ‘optimism for the future of our ties’. He further said, ‘The profound changes taking place in the world present both our countries with a historic opportunity to work together towards a 21st century that is conducive to peace and development’.”
The Economic Times says that even “as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described engagement between India and China as ‘a historic necessity’, trade between the two Asian economies has reached a new tipping point. It is only a matter of months before India-China bilateral trade overtakes that between New Delhi and its largest trading partner, the US.”
It was in 2006 that India and China opened a historic ‘Silk trade route’ that had been closed for nearly half a century. To read the BBC report pl click here…
Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.)
Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department’s SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi.
In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF’s Eco-tourism policy.
He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on “Development Journalism” to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years.
In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India — West Bengal and Orissa.
Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia.
Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there.
He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation.
And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.