China Daily

Amicable Sino-Indian relations benefit both

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India will reportedly clear 45 investment proposals from China now tensions have eased on the western section of the border following the disengagem­ent of front-line troops. The proposals had been held up since last year after India tightened controls on Chinese investment in the country in response to the monthslong military standoff in the border area.

Other retaliator­y measures New Delhi took against Beijing last year included holding Chinese imports at ports for extra checks, banning more than 200 Chinese apps including TikTok and WeChat, and blocking Chinese companies from participat­ing in India’s 5G network trials.

Given the huge negative impacts of the restrictiv­e policies, along with incessant calls by many in India to decouple from China economical­ly, there was growing pessimism over the prospects for Sino-Indian economic and trade ties.

Yet despite all this, China regained its position as India’s top trade partner in 2020, with two-way trade standing at $77.7 billion, according to India’s commerce ministry. China lost that position to the United States in the 2018 fiscal year.

It is worth noting that Indian imports from China last year — at $58.7 billion — were more than the combined purchases from the US and the United Arab Emirates, India’s second- and third-largest trade partners, mainly because of the country’s reliance on Chinese-made heavy machinery, telecom equipment and home appliances.

The mutually beneficial trade and business relations between the two neighbors have been a major component of their strategic and cooperativ­e partnershi­p for peace and prosperity. The fact that bilateral trade has increased more than 30 times over the past three decades points to a broad alignment of their interests, especially as the two economies are becoming increasing­ly interconne­cted and interdepen­dent.

Thus efforts by some politician­s in India to hold trade hostage to the border issue are counterpro­ductive, and will inflict bigger damage on its own national interests, especially given the significan­t role China now plays in the global industrial and supply chains. For example, about two-thirds of active pharma ingredient­s used by the Indian pharmaceut­ical industry are imported from China, and industry experts believe any sudden ban or restrictio­ns on imports of these from China may cause supply disruption­s resulting in huge price rises.

The latest step India has taken on Chinese investment is a welcome move to get bilateral trade and overall relations back on track. It serves both countries’ interests for them to be each other’s developmen­t opportunit­ies rather than a threat.

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