"Make in India" Campaign Failed? Indian Imports from China soars in 2022 – Sets new Import Records

The growth in the bilateral trade between India and China which started at the beginning of this century has made China the biggest trade partner of India after the USA.

"Make in India" Campaign Failed? Indian Imports from China soars in 2022 – Sets new Import Records


The unconventional growth in the bilateral trade between India and China which started at the beginning of this century has made China one of its biggest trade partners of India after the USA. In the year 2017-18, two-digit growth was observed in the trade between the countries. If we specifically talk about the imports made by India from China, then they stood at USD 58.26 billion in 2015, and USD 59.43 billion in 2016.

Due to the political issues between the countries, India reduced imports from China and started a campaign named “make in India”. Through this campaign, India boycotted Chinese products and started promoting the production of goods domestically. Initially, everyone supported this but eventually, the interest of people got faded and the imports from China started again. In the year 2021-22, the trade between the two nations climbed to USD 115.81 billion. And in the year 2022, this bilateral trade reached a record level of USD 135.99 billion.



Based on China Export Data for the year 2022, India imported goods from China worth USD 118.54 billion and on the other hand, according to China Import Data India exported just USD 17.50 billion worth of goods to China. Indeed, India is facing a huge trade deficit of approximately USD 100 billion that too for the first time. Various statisticians and analysts are seeing this scenario from both perspectives- worry and optimism. Worry because India is depending on Chinese products again for every range of products which can cause harm to the economy of India in the future. At the same time, analysts are optimistic as they see this as a positive indicator as India is importing more intermediate goods.


Although various goods are imported from China to India every year, after seeing the China Export Data and past years’ trends, we have found the major items that India imports from China on regular basis and in huge quantities. They are as follows:

  • Electrical gadgets and appliances (30% share in total imports, as of 2021).
  • Machines, reactors, and boilers (21.65% share in total imports, as of 2021).
  • Organic chemicals and fertilizers (13.7% share in total imports, as of 2021).
  • Plastics (5% share in total imports, as of 2021).
  • Automobiles and vehicle spare parts (3.10% share in total imports, as of 2021).



There could be many harmful effects on the nation that is dependent on the imports arising from an unfriendly or enemy nation.

  • As per government officials, if one country is over-dependent on imports from such a nation with whom the political relations are not good, it may lead to the birth of political and security concerns.
  • India imports most of its APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) from China as the cost of APIs is very low in China as compared to other international markets. The problem arises when there is an acute crisis situation in the world like Covid-19 when due to travel restrictions, India was unable to get an adequate supply of APIs from China. Due to this, India cut its exports of APIs too.
  • Nearly 25% of the coal energy produced in India is coming from plants that are utilizing equipment imported from China. This is a cause of security issues and one of the challenges faced by Indians. To avoid high power generation costs, India has to generate coal energy from plants made from Chinese equipment.



Being constant importers and exporters of goods and services, India and China’s trade relations cannot get over or stopped completely. India can also not completely give an end to this strategic dependence which is based on the imports of the most crucial products. However, India can look out for more potential alternatives to fulfill its product’s needs and demands and reduce its dependence on China. Some of the best alternatives for India could be the markets of the US, European nations, South Korea, or Japan. This will help India to build strong relations with other nations too which whom it shares good political relations.

If still, India wants to end its relations with China to the greatest extent, then it should shift back to its “make in India campaign” wherein the domestic manufacturers and producers would be motivated to produce everything in the country itself.



It looks like the excitement and motivation of the Make in India campaign have faded away in the minds of the Indians. Due to this, the imports from China are growing. It is high time now that India should become self-reliant in all aspects.

We don’t say that India should completely ban its trade practices with China as some crucial goods and equipment are very easily available in the Chinese market at low prices. We are in favor that India should reduce importing from China to some extent and should focus on some new and advanced markets.



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