Sikkim standoff: China’s economic stakes in India is no worry for Beijing

India may hold the promise of a big market for China, but that promise is yet to be fulfilled

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The sikkim standoff between India and China over a border dispute in the Sikkim region has given rise to speculation over how the latter would respond to the situation. The Chinese leadership has ruled out any talks with India until the Indian troops vacate what it considers to be its territory. In response, the Indian foreign secretary has noted that differences should not become disputes between neighbours.

But the stalemate continues, bringing into sharp focus its impact particularly on China’s economic ties with India. On social media including many WhatsApp groups, a campaign is already on to show how Indians can respond to China by rejecting goods that are produced in that country and sold in India.(economy policy)

It is a campaign charged with nationalistic emotion. But how seriously can such a campaign really impact Chinese exports or investments? To assess that, it is important to look at some numbers on India’s trade with China and the flow of Chinese investments into India.

There is no doubt that Chinese direct investments in India have been rising steadily. From being the 37th largest foreign investor in India in 2011, it has now scaled up to the rank of the 17th largest foreign investor in 2017.

 INDIA-CHINA foreign trade

 

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That appears to be a fast rise in the pecking order, but actually the size of total Chinese investments in India and the annual flows are very little, almost insignificant either as a share of India’s total foreign investment or as a per cent of China’s total investments abroad.

Consider the following numbers. Between April 2000 and March 2017, India received cumulative foreign investments of over $332 billion. Of this, however, China’s share is only $1.63 billion. In 2010-11, China invested only about $2 million in India. That year, India had received total foreign direct investments (FDI) of over $14 billion..

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