Challenge will be to get China to ‘Make in India’

With China and India agreeing to narrow the trade deficit at a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the greater challenge will be to convince Chinese businesses to manufacture in India and set up factories there.

The two countries share bilateral trade of $70 billion, making China India’s biggest trading partner, but the figure is worryingly skewed, with an estimated $40 billion in favour of China.

Officials said more business will follow if Chinese companies take back positive feedback of their experience in India. “Change will not happen overnight. For projects and investors to come in, they need time to study what the Indian market can do for them. I see a heightened level of interest now, so we are confident,” Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, told The Hindu .

‘Perceptible shift’

Shiv Khemka, vice-chairman of the Sun Group, said there was a perceptible shift in the political atmosphere in Beijing. “Until there was a political green light from China, all these businessmen were hesitant to come and invest in our country. This is a watershed moment, because I get a sense the green light has been switched on. All the Chinese business people I speak to are looking at India with a lot of focus: infrastructure, metallurgy, energy in particular,” he said. The Sun Group has tied up with a Chinese solar company to set up a 5,000-MW project in five years.

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