Nadim Siraj, EmpireDiaries.com
New Delhi: On August 2, 2021, China released a new video of the Galwan Valley clash. You may have seen this video. It was shared by a Twitter handle @detresfa, which calls itself freelance open source info tech analyst OSINT.
The video was released just after India and China issued a joint statement saying the two countries couldn’t reach an agreement on disengagement in certain areas in eastern Ladakh. Talks were apparently ‘constructive’, the two sides claimed.
After the Galwan Valley clash in June 2020 – when PLA troops ambushed Indian soldiers and killed at least 20 of them on a bitterly cold night – India’s relations with China hit a new low. China emerged in our eyes as a new super-enemy.
Well, we decided to do what comes to mind first. Ignore China, boycott their products. ‘Boycott China’ calls echoed all over India. People told each other, let’s teach China a lesson. Let’s not buy Chinese.
But there was a problem with this plan. The boycott was confined only to some smartphone apps, and a couple of bilateral contracts. That’s it.
It seemed we were taking revenge. But in reality, was that true? If China is our enemy, why do trade figures tell us a completely different story?
Numbers show that boycotting is out of the question. Instead, after Galwan, India has increasingly become a bigger and bigger importer of Chinese goods.
In 2019, India’s trade with China fell 2.87% as compared to the year before. This was before the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, when the pandemic happened, trade with China naturally dropped 7.55%.
Then Galwan happened in June 2020. After Galwan, India’s trade with China should have gone down, right? But that didn’t happen.
In 2019-20, the share of Chinese goods in India’s imports was 13.73%. A year later, it went up to 16.58%. The increase came despite the Galwan attack.
The story doesn’t end here. In the months after Galwan, China replaced the US as India’s top trade partner.
India is busy talking about China’s geographical encroachment. But there is no line of control for China’s economic encroachment. What’s the point of talking about Atmanirbhar Bharat if China – our proclaimed enemy – becomes our best trade partner?
After Galwan, China replaced US as India’s biggest trade partner. Trade between India and China stood at $86.39 billion dollars. It is higher than India’s trade with the US, which was $80.49 billion.
In 2020 India’s total imports from China was $58.7 billion.
The figure surpasses India’s combined purchases from the U.S. and the U.A.E. which are its second- and third-largest trade partners, respectively.
These figures raise more questions about Atmanirbhar Bharat. All these figures come from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
These numbers very clearly show India’s growing dependence on Chinese products. So, no matter how much you scream at China, nothing that can really save us from Chinese economic aggression.
There is a lot of talk in the media about de-escalation after Galwan. But the story about India’s rising imports from China is not in the headlines.
In the last four years, India’s imports from China have consistently exceeded India’s exports to China. As a result, India has a constant trade deficit with China.
So, the Galwan incident happens. 20 Indian soldiers die. India is furious. But India continues to trade with its super-enemy.
Rivalry, punishment, calls for boycott on one hand. Rising trade on the other. What is going on? The war on China is for whom then?