Five charts that prove India only stands to lose by boycotting trade with China

The empty feeling.
The empty feeling.
Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/
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Anger over the death of Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley has translated into calls for cutting all ties with China. But if any move is made in that direction, India stands to lose much more than China.

The East Asian nation ranks second in the list of India’s top trade partners. “Trade relations between the two countries have grown rapidly since the early 2000s, from under $2 billion in the year 2000 to $38 billion in 2008, when China became India’s largest trading partner—a position it still held in 2018, by when bilateral trade had increased 2.5 times to $95.5 billion,” noted Ananth Krishnan, a former Brookings India fellow in his report in March.

However, the trade ties aren’t evenly balanced. India buys more from China than it sells, leading to a huge trade deficit.

The massive trade imbalance has triggered India to imposed anti-dumping duty on 90 items (pdf) from China in an attempt to safeguard its own manufacturers.

While India tries to ring-fence its manufacturers, the trade deficit signals reliance on the country’s part. It also shows that India is a big market for Chinese producers.

The list of things India imports from China range from nuclear equipment to raw materials for making fertilisers.

Even if the trade relationship is lopsided, China is still one of the largest markets for Indian exporters. If we add Hong Kong (administered by China) to the mix, the export numbers are even higher.

India’s top exports to China include raw materials like ores and chemicals.