(TibetanReview.net, Apr16’22) – Despite India’s moves to curtail economic ties with China in the face of a raging border standoff, bilateral trade increased by 15.3% to over USD 31 billion in the first quarter of this year to the latter’s continued advantage, reported the PTI news agency Apr 15, citing trade data released by China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC). The information emerged amid a report of intelligence inputs suggesting the Chinese army was planning fresh incursions into India at several “sensitive” places all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Over Jan-Mar 2022, India’s trade deficit mounted to USD 22.23 billion because China’s exports to it reached USD 27.1 billion – over five times – while imports totaled only USD 4.87 billion, the report said, citing China’s official Global Times newspaper.
India’s trade deficit with China has kept ballooning despite raising the issue with Beijing year after year. Last year, China’s exports to India went up by 46.2% to USD 97.52 billion while India’s exports to China grew by only 34.2%t to USD 28.14 billion. As a result, India’s trade deficit grew by USD 69.38 in 2021, the report noted.
And this year, compared with the increase of 28.3% year-on-year of India’s imports from China in the first three months, its exports to China declined 26.1% year-on-year.
Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of the Research Centre for China-South Asia Cooperation, has explained this, saying that in the first quarter of 2021, China imported large quantities of iron ore from India, which accounts for a large share of India’s exports to China. However, from the second quarter of last year China reduced imports from India.
Apart from electronic devices like mobile phones, India’s heavy reliance on China arises from the fact that about 70% of chemical and other manufactured goods used by the Indian pharmaceutical industry are imported from China, Liu has said.
Meanwhile, intelligence inputs have been cited as suggesting the Chinese army was planning fresh incursions at several “sensitive” places along the LAC from Ladakh to Arunachal.
“These spots had witnessed Chinese incursions in the past. The army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police have been alerted,” the telegraphindia.com Apr 15 quoted a security official attached to India’s home ministry as saying.
“The army has been asked to ramp up infrastructure in these areas. The troops posted in the forward areas have been instructed to keep a close eye on Chinese army movements along the LAC,” the report quoted a defence ministry official as saying.