The cracks in India-China relations became more prominent due to the COVID-19 crisis. The relationship fell to a new low after the clashes of two forces in the Galwan Valley in June.
The strained relations between the two Asian giants has led to an anti-China sentiment in India. China is a robust economy. With due respect to the sentiments of Atmanirbharta, have we ever thought, just in case even if we stop relying on imported products from China, how much will this affect the Chinese economy?
At this time, are we in a position to war? And what could India do if not war? Is it helping the Indian economy to prohibit Chinese goods? Or have we only banned these mere Chinese apps, as our reprisals and anger? Will this anti-China sentiment in us today benefit us? Or can it also hurt our economy?
In India, 18 of 30 unicorn companies are funded by China. Unicorn companies are startups with a value of over US $1 billion. The ban has indeed narrowed the growth of Chinese technology firms in India, but at what cost? This has also impacted the Indians working with these Chinese firms.
The rising anti-Chinese sentiment had earlier led the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo to opt-out from its committed title sponsorship in Indian Premier League 2020.
ByteDance is an internet technology company based in Beijing. For ByteDance, India has been the biggest driver of TikTok installs (611 million downloads) or to put it in different figures, 30 per cent of the total downloads (according to SensorTower).
Even if there is little conflict with Pakistan, a plan of action is always ready. Now that the Chinese army has invaded the Indian territory, we are just debating about the suppression of Chinese goods. Why?
India is facing repercussions after banning the first 59 Chinese apps. Around a month later, our government banned another lot of 118 Chinese apps. The anti-China sentiment is being observed even from the lower section of the society.
Various sectors in India depend on Chinese goods. The ban will curb the expansion of Chinese industry in the Indian economy. India's majority of toys are imported from China; the toys industry has now shifted its focus to manufacturing. We went to various toy stores of Pune to know the sentiments of the common people and how this had an impact on their business.
A toyshop owner of Pune, Vikas, said, "We are running this toy store for the past five years. Previously 90 to 100 per cent of the toys were from China. However, for the past 5-6 months, since the Galwan crises happened, the customers are requesting us not to sell made in China toys. They have asked us to get the majority of the Indian toys. But this has become very difficult for us, as there are very few options left. Production of Indian toys if compared to Chinese, is really less. I myself don't want to sell Made in China toys, but I have no other option than to sell the Chinese toys."
He further added, "It has become a compulsion for us to keep Chinese products. If we don't keep the products, the store will run empty, and the customers will return. So it's better for us to continue the business with the existing toys. Our main focus is to sell toys to the customers and to earn money at least to pay for the shop rent. We can't close the store and have to continue with the business. Whatever toys are here, we continue our business with that."
Another toy shop owner, who didn't wish to be named, said, "Since the Galwan crisis happened, there is anger in people. They don't wish to buy Chinese toys. The demand for Indian made toys have raised drastically. But we can't help it. We receive products mainly from China. If compared to India, Chinese products are cheap. But in order to keep our shop running, it's our compulsion to sell the Chinese products."
We asked another toy shop owner about his take on the Chinese products, and if he prefers to sell them. "I get a huge profit margin by selling Chinese products when compared to Indian toys. But I am ready to sell just Indian toys even if I make less money. This is the least I can do for my country. But the problem is that the production of Indian toys is very less compared to the Chinese. The quality of Indian toys is better than the Chinese, so it won't be difficult for Indian-made toys to capture the market. People who are coming to our store are now asking for Indian made toys."
India has a trade deficit of about US $50 billion with China. China is India's second-biggest trading partner followed by the USA. China supplies 12 per cent of India's imports. The major sectors are chemical, automotive parts, consumer electronics and pharmaceuticals. India's domestic manufacturing sector can substitute as much as 25 per cent of total imports from China, according to the latest findings from Acuité, a rating agency. This would lead to a reduced import bill of over US $8 billion in a single year. Whereas, if we look at Chinese dependency on Indian goods, China only imports 3 per cent of its goods from India.
So, the Chinese economy will hardly be affected by our' ban'.
There is a massive influx of Chinese capital in the tech and pharmaceutical sectors. The Chinese tech sector and the digital market will surely shrink in India. But how will this help India?
During the Galwan crises, India didn't gain much support from SAARC nations, even being one of the strongest members of SAARC. So instead of banning the apps, India must revive its relations with SAARC countries to deal with China effectively.
To become a superpower like China, India has to prove that it is the next alternative to China. Due to anti-China sentiment in the whole world because of the COVID-19 situation, India should take this as an opportunity and make the right use of it.
Lately, India was in talks with over 1,000 multinational companies who were planning to shift their part of manufacturing unit outside of China. India took a keen interest in luring these companies; this could have been a turning point in India's history for becoming the next export hub. But it seems India is still loathing its bitter past with China.