2020 has not been good for the global economy and particularly for India! The government has a lot to manage. The domestic coronavirus cases are seeing a new peak every day and the recent scuffle with neighbors China and Nepal at its borders needs immediate attention too!
For the control of coronavirus spread, the government has been trying its best to manage the situation with consecutive lockdowns. It has started unlocking now in phases since an economic boost is also necessary. Now the efforts have to come from the public as their responsibility to stay safe and keep others safe. Scientists all over the world are working tirelessly to bring out a vaccine but of course, the trials and testing will take time!
On the border front, both India and China have ‘reportedly’ agreed to disengage and decide on a peaceful course after 20 Indian soldiers were martyred in the Galwan Valley face-off. But India is being watchful. It is important that India carefully devises its short and long-term strategy. That India becomes self-reliant starting now supporting ‘Vocal for Local’ leading to an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ over the next few years.
This is not very difficult to achieve. The border conflict is already reflecting in the consumer sentiment against any Chinese goods. And, the government has already started working in this direction. It is giving preference to local tenders over foreign, by Indian companies, imposing import and anti-dumping duties on goods and raw materials sourced from China to boost domestic production and upskill our indigenous labour and technology. Along with that, the consumer drive to choose indigenous goods and processes where ever possible can go a long way to win the battle.
That said, we also need to realise that a blanket ban on Chinese goods is difficult. China’s penetration into India and other countries, where India could eye exporting replacing China, is deep. China accounted for 12% of India’s total imports as of February 2020. However, in India’s total exports, its share was a mere 3%. Clearly, we buy more from China than we sell. Moreover, there are considerable Chinese investments in Indian startups. Chinese apps and companies top the charts in consumer demand currently because of their better technology and pricing making it difficult to switch to domestic alternatives. Similarly, if we look at other countries, China’s share in the imports of countries such as Japan, Australia, and the European Union ranges from 22-25 percent. The gap between India and China in these markets is much higher plus there is competition from Korea and Taiwan (for high value-added products), and Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Thailand (for lower-end products)
This can be a huge opportunity for India to tap but clearly, we first need a carefully designed long term strategy towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat and taming the dragon!
Young Minds Speak!
What stand should India take on the current situation between India and China?
“What worse than two nuclear-armed countries killing each other’s soldiers. So, India should leverage all its good relations with other countries and put pressure on China, either diplomatic or economic, or a show of strength without war. We should stand up to China, but the only way to do it is by becoming more competitive ourselves and readying other alternatives. We need to upskill our manufacturers with better technology to compete at a global level.”
Siddharth Kapoor, Class VI, Scottish High International School
“There is a tense situation between India and China right now. In my opinion, India cannot afford a fight with China either emotionally or financially and so India should settle this peacefully with China. But if China does not agree, India should gather forces and should ask for help from other countries and give a strong diplomatic reply.”
Sarah Rekhi, Class VI, Shiv Nadar School, Noida
“India and China going at each other is the last thing the world needs right now. Differences should be resolved peacefully. During these difficult times of COVID-19, both countries being neighbours need each other’s assistance. So both the countries should stop fighting and maintain peace.”
Abhinav Chandna, Class VII, The Shriram Millennium School, Noida
“At a time when the whole world is paying for what China has done, China is getting into fights with other countries. China should support other countries and the whole world should come together to fight coronavirus instead of making the situation worse by getting into conflicts. India has vast resources and it should try and upgrade its technology and manpower to leverage its huge population.”
Bhuvi Mangla, Class XII, Delhi Public School, Gurugram
“The Indo-China border standoff at the LOC in Ladakh has captured news channels amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. The whole world is now realising that China is the culprit in spreading the virus and now crossing the line of control and killing Indian soldiers. As an Indian, I condemn this act. We should ban Chinese products and buy only Made in India products. But I wonder is it possible?”
Venya Kapoor, Class IV, Birla Vidya Niketan, Delhi
“Both India and China should try to resolve the conflict through rational discussion instead of heated fight and millitary attacks at the border.”
Rashi Aggarwal, Class IX, Amity International School, Gurugram