Abstract India and China reached national sovereignty at the end of the 1940s. Since that time the two countries have made significant industrial progress and they have, relative to other Third World countries, a large number of well-educated people. However, the agricultural developments in India and China have been very different, though the two countries have a similar resources base. While the Chinese peasants, through hard work upon the rural land, have seen a substantial increase in their standard of living, the mass of Indian peasants are still living under severe circumstances and poverty. Furthermore, the rational management of land and water resources are much more advanced in China than in India. An important part of the difference in the agricultural and resources development of the two countries is related to the various guidelines of national economic performance and institutional settings. China has adopted a self-reliant basic-needs-oriented approach of national economic performance, which has given due attention to agricultural development and resources management. India has followed a Western-inspired liberal economic growth model of national economic performance, which has emphasised industrial development directed toward fastgrowing isolated economic enclaves within a basically subsistence economy. The cooperative ownership approach has improved resources management in China, whereas the small peasant/tenant approach in India has been unable to improve the resources management situation. The paper suggests that only a cooperative ownership approach towards land and water resources management will give any future prospect for an improvement in the standard of living for the mass of the people and the resources situation in India. Consequently, research activities in resources management ought to be directed towards cooperative solutions and experiences in India.