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'Why Is Indian Business Heavily Reliant On Chinese Imports?': EAM S Jaishankar Highlights China's Role In Galwan Valley Clash

Swarajya Staff

May 15, 2024, 02:41 PM | Updated 02:38 PM IST

EAM S Jaishankar.
EAM S Jaishankar.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar questioned the heavy reliance of Indian businesses on Chinese imports and raised concerns about the wisdom of depending on a single source especially a country such as China which had played a nefarious role in the Galwan Valley incident.

Speaking at an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on Tuesday (14 May), Jaishankar emphasised India's strategic response to the Galwan clash through the counter-deployment of forces.

"After 1962, Rajiv Gandhi's visit to China in 1988 was crucial in normalising relations. There was a clear understanding to discuss boundary differences while maintaining peace and tranquillity at the border, allowing the rest of the relationship to progress," he said.

He explained that this principle had guided India-China relations until 2020. "In 2020, the Chinese, violating multiple agreements, brought a large number of forces to our border during our COVID lockdown," he noted.

The Galwan Valley clash, which resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers, was the worst border conflict with China in over four decades.

Jaishankar highlighted that India responded by deploying forces ahead of the usual positions at Galwan, and this situation has persisted for four years.

"This deployment along the LAC is highly abnormal. Given the tension, no Indian citizen should ignore the security of the country. It is a significant challenge," he stated.

He also pointed out an economic challenge due to the past neglect of the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors. "Why is Indian business so heavily reliant on Chinese imports? Is it wise to depend on a single source?" he asked.

According to the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), China's share in India's industrial goods imports has increased from 21 per cent to 30 per cent over the last 15 years.

Jaishankar also highlighted India's diplomatic successes, crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative with Russia for rescuing Indians stranded in Ukraine while many Western countries struggled.

He also noted India's effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing essential medicines and developing vaccines and PPE kits sought by other countries.

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