India-China trade jumps thwarting PM Modi’s self-reliance drive

India’s bilateral trade with China rose by a third in the year to March, throwing a spanner in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s drive to wean the South Asian nation from relying on its larger neighbor for cheap imports and promote a thriving domestic industry.

Total merchandise trade between India and China rose 34% to $115.83 billion in the 12 months to March 2022, according to data from the Commerce Ministry released to parliament last week. Trade between the two nations so far this year — between April and October — stood at $69.04 billion, according to the ministry.


In recent years, Modi’s administration has been trying to cut India’s reliance on China — the country’s biggest source of imports. It imposed curbs on trade and businesses in 2020 amid the deadliest fighting in decades at their disputed Himalayan border.

Despite those curbs, imports from the Asian giant have ballooned, out-pacing exports handily. As such, India’s trade deficit with China in the first seven months of the current fiscal at $51.50 billion, the data showed. This compares with a reading of $73.31 billion for the entire fiscal ending March 2022.

–With assistance from Swansy Afonso.

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