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India-China trade deficit soars to $47 bn as business ignores Ladakh crisis, ‘Atmanirbhar’ push

  
  
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  New Delhi: The Modi government’s attempts to reduce India’s dependence on goods manufactured in China and push self-reliance alongside since the military confrontation in Ladakh last year does not seem to be making much headway if India-China trade figures are any indication. While bilateral trade is on track to hit a record-high of $100 billion, New Delhi’s trade deficit with Beijing ballooned to $46.55 billion in the first nine months of this calendar year — higher than the full-year figure in the last fiscal — and is expected to rise further by the end of 2021, according to latest data from China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC).The trade deficit between the two countries stood at $44.02 billion in 2020-21, according to data shared by the Indian commerce ministry in August. Last fiscal’s trade deficit had actually dipped from $53.57 billion in 2018-19. The deficit comes as India and China seem set to hit a record-high trade of $100 billion, having already touched $90.37 billion in the first nine months of 2021 — a 49.3 per cent year-on-year rise, according to the Chinese customs data. These figures come even after a chill in bilateral ties in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley clash in June 2020 and the continuing stand-off on the Line of Actual Control over the last year-and-a-half. The push by the Modi government for an ‘Atmanirbhar’ economy also couldn’t put a pin in the ballooning trade. The latest figures from China’s GACC also revealed that exports to the US, Beijing’s biggest strategic and economic competitor, jumped 30 per cent to $57.4 billion while imports from the US rose nearly 17 per cent to $15.4 billion.