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.
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 Bharat...it is not a slogan,” he said, according to PTI. “It is actually a messaging to [the] industry...to 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.