India’s trade with China is growing despite frequent border confrontations.
Trade between India & China has reached an all-time high along with India's trade deficit with China.
India and China’s border dispute has been going on for several decades following an ambiguous demarcation of territories, more than a century ago. The border disputes cover northern most parts of India, near Ladakh involving China’s occupation of territories claimed by India now known as Aksai Chin, and as well in the Northeastern region, Arunachal Pradesh.
There are various demarcation lines such as the Johnson’s line, McCartney-McDonald Line, McMahon’s line which are the root cause of the border disputes and the interpretation of these lines by India and China vary which further adds to the confusion. These result in frequent altercations in the Line of Actual Control region in Ladakh as well as in Arunachal Pradesh.
Following the altercation and standoff in the Galwan River valley in May 2020, India banned over 50 Chinese apps in retaliation and the number of banned Chinese apps swell to over 300 apps. The app ban was initially justified by citing financial implications on China, later it was attributed to security concerns and protection of users’ data, which was later claimed to boost self-reliance.
‘India is reducing its dependence on China’, more importantly, ‘imports from China are being slowly phased out’ was the larger narrative that was being peddled by the ruling BJP government and the right-wing ecosystem. But the reality is far from these narratives, as the trade between India and China had reached an all-time high at over $115 billion along with the trade deficit of over $73 billion.
In a question raised by Digvijaya Singh during the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament, Piyush Goyal, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, responded that the exports from China were at $11.93 billion in 2014-15 and it has increased to USD 21.26 billion in 2021-22, an increase of 78.2 % over six years. Imports too have risen by 56% from $60.41 billion in 2014-15 to $94.57 billion in 2021-22.
According to the response from the Ministry, the imports mostly comprised of capital goods, intermediate goods, and raw materials such as mobile phone parts, integrated circuits, video recording or reproducing apparatus, which are used to produce/assemble mobile phones, electronics, and products for the industries such as telecom and power.
Just as the Parliament session is going on, there has been another altercation in the India – China border, this time in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh and many videos have been circulated in the social media claiming to be the tussle between Indian and Chinese soldiers.
Read more: Old, undated videos and images shared as recent visuals from December 9 clash
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge took a stinging jibe at the Government and Prime Minister Modi for not allowing to speak on the Chinese aggression in the Parliament. He tweeted “It seems that the ‘red eye’ of the Modi government is covered with Chinese glasses. Is it not allowed to speak against China in the Indian Parliament?“
ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि मोदी सरकार की “लाल आँख” पर चीनी चश्मा लग गया है।
क्या भारतीय संसद में चीन के विरूद्ध बोलने की अनुमति नहीं है ?
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) December 15, 2022
MPs of several political parties such as the DMK, TMC, NCP, RJD, SP, JMM including the Congress have staged a walk out on 14th December 2022 after alleging that they are not permitted to discuss Chinese aggression in the border during the Parliament session whereas in 1962, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru allowed a discussion which involved 165 MPs during the Indo-China war.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh clarified that no soldier died or suffered major injury during the altercation with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China and assured that the Indian Army is prepared to face these situations. Rajnath Singh also revealed that a Flag Meeting was held with the local Commander of the Chinese Army in the region and the issue has also been taken to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels. The larger implications of the recent clash in Tawang region are yet to unfold and there seems to be no clarity at this moment regarding how Indian Government would respond.
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