It is no secret that China’s economic edge over India goes beyond manufacturing cheap goods and exporting them. India will obviously need to do more to compete with China across various industries. However, the country can definitely shift its focus to reduce the long-term dependency on a rogue neighbour and look for other feasible options without getting into short-term benefits.
The trade war between the big nations is certainly not going to end anytime soon, but strengthening the roots is the answer to a lot of problems. India may not realistically be able to compete with China in near future, but it can certainly starting treading on that path. The country can introduce reforms to encourage manufacturing, while easing the market for local entrepreneurs, which will prove be a must needed boost.
Be it the ‘Make in India‘ initiative or ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, the aim is to encourage local production and self-reliance. India is backed by a young population, which is quite an advantage, considering the country is looking for a major push. It may not be an easy thing to shift policy and economic patterns, but India’s developing economy allows integration of new reforms and technologies.
When it comes to cheap labour, countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, etc., are definitely the potential alternatives to China due to a stable political paradigm. However, when it comes to the labour force or multiplicity of industries, India surely has an upper hand. Essential sectors like defence, pharmaceuticals and electronics have prospered in the country over the years and a final push can certainly eliminate the need to look towards China in this spectrum.
However, experts are also of the opinion that mass industrialization may not occur because of the nature of India’s human capital. They also believe that India’s political and legal systems do not facilitate an easy pathway to acquire land for factories. So, instead of looking at short-term and quick fixes, the need of the hour is to look at the long-term objectives. A holistic plan of action is needed to keep India in good stead and even compete with China in the coming years, rather than taking decisions in resentment to achieve temporary success.