When ‘Make in India’ was launched more than three years ago in September 2014, one of the hopes was it would diminish, or at least dampen, India’s increasing reliance on imports of Chinese machinery and equipment, which makes up a huge chunk of India’s trade deficit.
But three years on, new numbers suggest this hasn’t been the case. In fact, India’s reliance on Chinese made goods has only grown.
While India’s imports of Chinese machinery have risen by as much as 25 per cent in the three years since, it’s exports to China have alarmingly remained stagnant- and in fact fell slightly – in the period from 2014 to 2017.
In 2017, India imported $68 billion worth of goods from China, a 16.5 per cent year-on-year rise, according to numbers released on January 12 by China’s General Administration of Customs.
In 2014, the year Make in India was launched, India’s imports were $54 billion. Since then, imports, mainly of Chinese machinery and equipment as well as pharmaceuticals, have risen 25 per cent.
So has India’s trade deficit with China, which has risen from $37.8 billion in 2014 to $51.6 billion last year.
Two-way trade is up from $70 billion in 2014 to $84.4 billion, but the rise in trade has been entirely led by India’s hunger for imports from China. Worryingly, in this time, India’s exports to China have actually fallen.
India exported $16.4 billion worth of goods 2014, mainly low-end exports such as ores and yarn. Over three years, India’s exports have registered no growth and in fact fell slightly to $16.3 billion last year, even as the deficit crossed $50 billion in China’s favour.