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National Conference Report: “Public Policy and Governance in India and China”

The two day national conference on “Public Policy and Governance in India and China” was jointly organized by School of International Relations and Politics in association, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam with Chennai Centre for China Studies, Chennai and Institute for Contemporary China Studies and Rajiv Gandhi for Public Policy Studies, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.  It was held on March 21-22, 2016 at Hotel Vettikattu Plaza, Neendoor, Kottayam.

The inaugural session was presided over by Prof. A. M. Thomas. Prof. K. M. Seethi welcomed the gathering and stated that the seminar has been organized as a mark of respect for Prof. Raju K. Thadikkaran who will be retiring at the end of the academic year after 32 years of distinguished service. Prof. K. M. Seethi also mentioned that a comparative study of India and China in the realm of governance and public policy could be beneficial to all those interested in development studies. Prof. V. Suryanarayan, Chairman, Chennai Centre for China Studies inaugurated the seminar and delivered the keynote address.

Prof. V. Suryanarayan pointed out the distinct difference between India and China in the sphere of ethnicity and nation building. While India respected diversity and has a federal form of government where regional parties can protect and promote their different identities, the Chinese leaders believed in homogenization and spreading of Han culture.  Equally relevant Prof. Suryanarayan pointed out that while there were convulsions at regular intervals in China – Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen Square massacre – which led to the loss of millions of lives – the Indian experiment had been slow and steady and also within the framework of  democratic structure.

Prof. V. Suryanarayanan also highlighted the fact that many Sinologists do not mention about the political convulsions. For them, ends justify the means. Prof. V. Suryanarayan concluded by stating – as interdependence between China and the rest of the world increases in the years to come, human right violations in that country will continue to be ignored. C. R. Anagha, student in School of International Relations and Politics, proposed Vote of Thanks.

The first session was chaired by Dr. Jose J. Naduthotty, KN Raj Centre, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. Presentations were made by Sri. Muraleedharan Nair, former Diplomat at the Consulate General of India in China, Prof. K. N. Harilal of Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Prof. V. Mathew Kurian, KN RajC, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. They highlighted different dimensions of China’s economic growth and to what extent they were relevant to the developing countries.

The second session was chaired by Dr. Ashik Bonofer, Madras Christian College, Chennai. Presentations were made by D. S. Rajan of Chennai Centre for China Studies who spoke on the role of the Chinese Communist Party, Cmde.  R. S. Vasan of Chennai Centre for China Studies spoke on the growth and functions of the People’s Liberation Army. Mr. P. Vithiyapathy of Chennai Centre for China Studies spoke on “Reflection on Good Governance in India and China” and Prof. Jia Haitio, Jinan National University, China, spoke about China’s Maritime lifeline towards and related strategic concerns. The presentation elicited lot of criticism and comments on China’s development.

A special session in honor of Prof. Raju. K. Thaddikaran was held in the evening which was presided over by Prof. A. M. Thomas. The faculty members of the department, the old students of the department and colleagues in the Mahatma Gandhi University, spoke about Prof. Raju K. Thadikkaran’s many splendored life and his a yeoman contributions to teaching and research in International Relations.

The first session on the second day was presided by Prof. V. Suryanarayan of Chennai Centre for China Studies. Presentations were made by Prof. Rajan Gurukkal, Dr. John Samuel, Dr. Ashik Bonofer, Shri. M. V. Bijulal, and Dr. M. Renupta.

The last academic session was chaired by K. Subramanian of Chennai Centre for China Studies.  Shri. Srikant made his presentation by highlighting the problems of the minorities in China with special reference to human rights. Mr. Joseph Antony spoke about the problems faced by the Uyghurs and how China is responding to the situation.

The valedictory function of the seminar was presided by Dr. Raju K. Thadikkaran. The valedictory Address was delivered by D. S. Rajan of Chennai Centre for China Studies. The Valedictory Address was based on keen insights which Mr. D. S. Rajan was able to provide as a result of his mastery over Chinese language long years of residence in China and expertise in Sinology. Mr Jason proposed the vote of thanks.

Compiled by Vithiyapathy P., Research Officer, Chennai Centre for China Studies.

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