India and China, two countries whose relations go back thousands of years. Relations which was sometimes sweet and other times bitter. Invaders like Sakas and hunas invaded India around first century BC and fourth century AD respectively. Similarly, there had been many other attempts in the past, some with small significance and others with no significance at all. For example, during the Mughal period, there were many attempts of invasion but all were crushed by the Mughal emperors. Thus giving an immunity for about two centuries from outside threats. It was in this period that India became the biggest global Producer of goods. Indian GDP at that time shared about a quarter of entire world GDP which was more than its European counterpart at that time. Later, the Mughal Empire declined and so did the GDP. Historians believe that the Britishers played a great role in destroying India’s self reliance market. This is because in the 18th century when East India company was ruling in India, The company laid very heavy taxes on the cottage industries which were the backbone of Indian market at that time. The East India company wanted to sell their own products in India and the Indian market was becoming a hindrance. So they crushed it And after that time India’s market has never managed to reach that peak which was during the Mughal period.
Now let us come back to India China relationship. So in earlier times, trade had been gone on between these two countries. This led to the interaction between people and many writers from China like Fa-Hien came to India Jeering the rule of The powerful ruler Chandragupta to also known as Vikram Aditya. Another Chinese traveller was Hiun-Tsang Who came during the period of King Harsha. The accounts of these two travellers are of great significance for Indian history. India was a great exporter even in the fifth century during the Gupta period but one of the reasons for its declined is believed to be the role played by The Dragon here also. The thing was that India used to export silk to many parts of the world, specially to Rome. This was a source of great profit since silk has always been a costly commodity. What happened was that the Romans learned this art of making silk from Chinese, thus giving a great blow to India’s trade. But that was a long long time ago and we stand in the 21st century now. It looks that in its own way history is repeating. China Has engulped a very huge portion of India’s market. A recent Report says that India now imports about 33% of its total from China and China imports only 1% of its total from India. So how did this big difference came into existence. as they say, Rome was not built in a day and same is the case here. This journey started in the year 1991 when India brought New trade policies. In the year 2000, the trade between India and China was less than $2 billion, later China increased its export in India and in 2008 it became the largest exporter for India. The next decade brought about a roggbust and an exponential increase in the trade. However, this t increase was one-sided only, in fact Indian export to China declined heavily. Today the scenario is that China mostly needs Raw Material for its industries from India. On the other hand India is dependent on China for almost everything. Although, during UPA 1 and to government times, it looked that India is giving tough competition to China, as far as production of goods and GDP is concerned. In fact, the economic model of India Which was the mixture of capitalism and socialism was admired by many democratic countries in the world. Later, the policies of the new government specially demonetisation and GST gave a big blow to the Indian Industry. As of today,, many small and medium scale industries which are the backbone of Indian economy Were destroyed. On one hand, this destruction was going on, on the other hand China was increasing its export, people were consuming more Chinese goods now than ever before. It’s very easy to bring something from China today. Maybe, this was one of the main reason why Indian market was flooded with Chinese products China has always use the policy of mass production and dumping to increase its market everywhere. India was no exception, over the years the Chinese products led to the kicking out or at least decrease of many Indian products from the market. although, they are not of great quality but of much less cost than Indian products. Still,many Indian industries competed well with China for example da cloth industry in Surat gave a tough competition at one time. Along with this, Indian IT industry in Bangalore is well known and is also known as the Silicon Valley of India. India has many many other industries which are doing good or were doing good. But when the subject of mass production occurs, India is left behind.
India also got many golden opportunities which it missed. Two such examples are as follows –
- When the trade war was going on between China and America, thae American companies were shifting their industries from China to somewhere else. They had many options to go, One of them was India but no one came to India.
- The second golden chance India had is very recent, when the Covid 19 pandemic came, China was blamed for it by many countries specially US and so about hundred companies from America were thinking about shifting at least some of their business if not a complete shift from China to somewhere else, again India was an option, Uttar Pradesh even talked to some of those companies, but later the news came that they are not coming, some of them went to Vietnam, Taiwan etc
Although these companies would not have helped in self reliance but would have given jobs to many Indians in these times of all Time hike unemployment rate.
Currently, as tension is going on at India China border, India have decided to ban many Chinese apps like TikTok. But will it really give a blow to China, I don’t think so. Chinese economy is very huge and just by blocking some apps will not make such a big difference. Yes, we can make a difference if we boycott China completely. India is one of the largest markets in the world and we have got that potential. But is it so easy, the answer is no. We can’t just stop buying Chinese products. It will lead to a great rise In the price of almost everything. Even the mobile phones which are made in India get their parts from China. So what should we do ?. We can stop Chinese import and start importing from other countries, still it will lead to price rise because Chinese products are the cheapest. Even if we manage to import goods at low prices, we will not be self reliance, so this should be our first goal, that is becoming self reliance. For that we will have to do the following-
-First of all, we will have to support and encourage our industrial sector. For that, business should be made easy in India. Only giving the slogan of ease of business doesn’t works, it should be seen on the ground also. Even today, if someone wants to start some new company, the paperwork involved is difficult. Even today they have to bribe the government workers to get their file moved even if they had followed all the norms given by the ministry. Thee government must look in this matter and act accordingly.
-Secondly, skill India should be implemented more efficiently, it is a bitter fact but we lack skill. We have a huge labour capacity but much less skilled capacity. The skill India was a good scheme but it was not implemented well. The foreign companies Which come to India don’t select people because we lack skill.
-Thirdly, the government should take steps to provide good round the clock facilities to the industries, without electricity, without water, no industry will survive.
-Fourthly, the government should look after the law and order situation here which is not very good. Companies come if there is harmony in the country and not if there is Constant danger of unstability everywhere. It’s very sad to see that even the Indians are now investing more in foreign markets than in their own market. Billions of dollars aregoing out of India and the amount increases every year.
-Fifthly, last but not the least, it has been seen that the Government doesn’t listen to experts, even from their own party, before taking big steps and for advice also. For example, people like Arvind Subramanian (ex-chief financial advisor of the government) or Udit Patel (ex-RBI governor) resigned, these people were at Big positions and left because no one was listening to them. There are many like these and the list is very long.
yes we are going through bad times now. But time is uncertain and always changing. If we take the right steps today, we will see a bright future. This pandemic also gave a great blow to the Indian industry and thus the economy but also brought opportunities which we lost. However, we can always hope. If today is not good, that doesn’t means tomorrow will also be bad. It’s just the matter of taking the right step at the right time in the right way and India will be great again.
– Saad Ahmad Khan