New poll reflects changing attitudes to China in our region

20 May 2013

A big majority of Indians surveyed in a new opinion poll see China as a security threat, the director of the Australia India Institute, Professor Amitabh Mattoo said today.

The poll, conducted on behalf of the A.I.I and the Lowy Institute for International Policy, provides intriguing insights into the issues concerning Indians today.

While 83 per cent of those polled saw China as a threat, 63 per cent would like ties with Beijing to strengthen.

"The poll suggests that Indians are deeply apprehensive about the perceived threats posed by China, but most want better relations with Beijing and would welcome a reconciliatory move towards Pakistan by the Indian political leadership,” Professor Mattoo said. “The poll also confirms the ‘argumentative’ Indians’ great faith in democracy.”

The Director of the International Security program at the Lowy Institute, Rory Medcalf said, “With Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visiting India this week, the poll results suggest that China and India face major challenges in achieving trust and cooperation.”

Indians surveyed felt more warmly towards the United States than to any other country, with 75 per cent in support of closer ties.

There was also good news for Australian education providers hoping to establish a presence in India, with respondents in favour of foreign universities establishing campuses in India.

An overwhelming majority of Indians polled (80-85 per cent) considered potential shortages of energy, food and water as ‘big threats’ to their country’s security. The research also found that 92% of respondents felt corruption has increased in the past five years.

The India Poll 2013, Facing the Future: Indian Attitudes to the World Ahead, reports the results of a nationally representative opinion survey of 1233 Indian adults conducted face-to-face between 30 August and 15 October 2012. The MacArthur Foundation also provided valuable support for the survey.

The full poll report can be downloaded here.

Follow the Poll on Twitter #IndiaPoll2013