Boycott China Myth And Reality
After the Galvan Valley’s sad incident people have started protesting against Chinese product from all over the country. In support of “#BoycottChina,” the central government has taken a very strong view against using Chinese equipment by Indian telcos MTNL and BSNL so much so that it has asked these companies to avoid Chinese equipment. However, a big question arises whether it is possible to completely avoid Chinese product in the presence of strong business ties which have flourished in the past between India and China. Moreover, this mentality has come up at a time when the entire world is globally dependent on each other for business prosperity. There are a large number of things from small to high value that are being imported from China and widely popular in all market segments in India. One will be surprised to know that even those things which can be manufactured in India are being imported from China. If we look at our manufacturing sector we find that India has alternative production facilities for non-essential things but there are so many such essential commodities, parts, equipment for which no or poor manufacturing facilities exists, hence to find a substitute for Chinese products is practically not possible as long as either we are self-sufficient on this front or have any other reliable option other than China. In the last financial year, there was a trade of around $90-92 billion between India and China in which the major contributor was India’s import from China. In 1920 in FY India’s import from China stood at around $74 billion whereas India’s export to China stood at $18 billion (source The Hindu). The Indian cell phone market is largely dominated by Chinese companies which captures more than 2/3rd of the entire Indian mobile market. Imports of ores and minerals from China by Indian companies involved in the manufacturing of iron and alloys are also rampant despite measures taken by the Indian government to curve it. Further, WTO agreement which facilitates international trade is also a big issue which cannot be overlooked as both India and China is bound to abide by WTO rules and regulations. Two countries that are connected for the purpose of developing mutual trade cannot enter into retaliatory trade practices for it will bring bad connotations on international forum.
Now it is very pertinent to think how can India come out of this situation –
- To compete with Chinese goods which are cheap and ubiquitous in the Indian market, we also need to work exclusively in developing our manufacturing R&D. Research and Development (R&D) and the adoption of competitive technology can bring down the cost of production.
- We also need to work on supply chain management with the latest technology so that the goods produced reaches out to the consumer at a low cost and in minimum time.
- Indian government must also rationalise subsidising or de-subsidising the cost as needed to compete with pricing strategies.
- Citizens also need to develop a habit to eschew the use of Chinese products by replacing it with indigenous products.
But all these things will only be possible when there is a strong strategy and political will to win the consumer’s heart. In today’s globalised market, it is only the consumer who decides who will remain the leader in the market. Putting a blanket ban on Chinese products may temporarily create a barrier to the established Chinese market in India, but this will not sustain in the long term if the end-users and consumers do not get a competitive alternative to choose in the Indian market. Chinese, inter-alia, other developed economies have leveraged technology in taking long strides in international trade and, at this juncture, when China is controlling a large chunk of international trade, its place cannot be substituted so easily.
Right time to take steps
We have seen a lot of criticism of China on international fora because of its self-centred policies and practices in international trade. The world has also seen in very recent past a trade war between China and US which is still continued. Further, the US has time and again blamed China for camouflaging Covid-19 impact in its country due to which the severity of the pandemic could not be gauged in time. Many other countries have also condemned China for this as the severity impact of the pandemic on the global economy is not hidden to anyone. It may also be observed that the Chinese government later revised its Covid-19 death figures under international pressure. It cannot be denied that the abrupt Chinese policies are facing criticism, yet it is imperative for us to set our own things right first so that we could emerge as a self-dependent economy de-leveraging our dependence on China to a larger extend.
Make in India, is a very visionary initiative but to make it globally recognised we also need to have the state of the art quality management system for our strong presence in the international market. It can get translated into reality only with a concerted effort. We need to work on our educational infrastructure which may inculcate research work. The policies should be framed and executed in such a way that the Indian talent pool work for indigenous development. The migration of talent takes place because they get better recognition elsewhere, we can contain it by fostering a sound ecosystem for them. If our own human capital works for the country’s development in all respect only then we may think of being Self-dependent or “Atmnirbhar” from where we can think of positioning ourselves in a commanding position.
(this is the personal opinion of the author)