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China and India: foes or friends?

Through western eyes, China and India might seem locked in a struggle for economic supremacy. The truth is quite different. The economies are complementary more than being competitors with each other, and the implications will shape the global economy for decades to come.

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ON ARRIVAL AT Pudong International Airport, visitors are whisked efficiently through its shiny concourse and off to one of the city's many five-star hotels via a brand new highway. It is hard not to be impressed when you check into the Grand Hyatt Shanghai, billed as the world's highest hotel. It is located on floors 53 to 87 of the 88-storey Jin Mao Tower in Pudong, built on land that less than a decade ago was almost all paddy fields.

Mumbai offers a contrasting experience. Housed in a decades-old building with peeling paintwork and administered by dishevelled and apologetic-looking officials, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is as difficult to negotiate as its name is for westerners to pronounce. Tackle it successfully and the next ordeal is the potholed and traffic-swamped road system to downtown Mumbai. It is difficult to escape the impression that not much has changed since the British left almost 60 years ago.

Is it all symbolic of the economic status of the world's two most populous nations? Perhaps.

No contest "China has arrived," says Chetan Ahya, economist with Morgan Stanley in Mumbai. "Everyone knows that.

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