India’s corporate sector needs to share the responsibility for the country’s trade imbalance with China, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday, PTI reported.

Addressing the foreign ministry’s annual Asia Economic Dialogue, Jaishankar said that trade imbalance with China was a “very serious and formidable” matter.

“Indian corporates haven’t developed the kind of backward [linkages], vendor supplies, components and parts, ingredients and intermediates that should be supporting us,” the Union minister added.


Jaishankar’s comments come at a time when India’s trade deficit with China is at an all-time high. In 2022, the difference between New Delhi’s imports and exports with Beijing crossed the $100 billion-mark for the first time ever, Chinese government data showed in January.

Last year, China’s exports to India rose 22% on a year-on-year basis to $119 billion. Meanwhile China’s imports declined to $17.5 billion, a drop of 38%, data from Beijing’s customs department showed. The quantum of India’s trade with China is also at all-time high levels and has ballooned over the last few years despite frosty relations due to border tensions between the two countries.

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On Thursday, Jaishankar said that the Modi government’s push for self-reliance, or “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, was a corrective measure taken to fix the flaws exposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Atmanirbhar is not a slogan,” he said, according to PTI. “It is actually a messaging to [the] people saying...please, what you can source from India, you have an obligation to source, not as a moral obligation. Our national security is at threat if you have this kind of massive external exposure.”

He also stressed that a major economy like India cannot neglect manufacturing and be centred around the service sector.

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