China will take over the US to become the world's largest economy within a decade, but its dominance may not resemble the current US hegemony, former foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Wednesday. Unlike the US, the Chinese are not interested in policing the world or being culturally dominant but are keen on securing the flow of wealth to their own country, he said.
Gokhale, a former Indian ambassador to China, was delivering an online lecture on `How China Sees the World,organised by Symbiosis International University here amidthe stand-off in eastern Ladakh. At $14 trillion, China is already the world's second-largest economy, he said.
"And according to the projection, in this decade itself it will overtake USA to become the largest economy in the world," he said. China is also one of the largest "outbound investors",the former diplomat noted. "In fact, by one statistic, China has already invested close to 350 billion US dollars abroad which is just shy of American figure of over $400 billion," he said.
"From our personal experience, (we) all know that China is the world's factory because many of the products weuse are either partly or fully made in China," he said. "In short, we will not be able to imagine and we cannot imagine, a world without China", so understanding its outlook is important, he said.
But, Gokhale said to a question, although China intends to be the dominant power of the world, a Chinese hegemony may not look like the American hegemony. "Unlike Americans, Chinese are not seeking military domination. I don't think the Chinese want the role of the world policeman," he said.
"They are cautious, prudent people. I don't think either they have desire, economically, militarily, to take that huge responsibility of policing the world," he said. "The western colonial powers came to us believing that they would civilise us. American culture wants us to replicate them. They want us to eat at McDonald's, they want us to read comics and see American TV series," he said.
They are weak as a soft power and they do not have any desire that the rest of the world imitate them, Gokhale said. "In fact,they take pride that they are exceptional.
Therefore, their hegemony is `Middle Kingdom' hegemony where all the roads will lead to Beijing for the prosperity ofChinese people," he explained.