India can’t replace China as world’s factory: Chinese media

China’s official media outlet Global Times, in an article, says that despite India’s best efforts to woo investors who want to shift out of China, it is delusional to expect India to become the world’s next factory. According to the article, although China is reeling under economic pressure amid the Covid-19 pandemic, to expect that India ‘is on track to replace China reflect nothing but nationalistic hubris’. Global Times says such delusions of strength ‘has led some to mistakenly believe they can now confront China with border issues’. It warns India that such steps would be “dangerous and misguided”. “Thus far, Chinese border defense troops have bolstered border control measures and made necessary moves in response to New Delhi’s recent attempt to unilaterally change the border control situation in the Galwan Valley region,” it claimed.

The article says Western media outlets have been enthusiastic in touting India’s competitiveness by comparing its market potential to China’s. Indians have been carried away by such comparisons. “It would be unrealistic to think that there is any chance India could take China’s place at the current time. Tensions between China and the US are not an opportunity for India to attract relocating industrial chains, because the South Asian country is not prepared to receive such a manufacturing shift given its poor infrastructure, lack of skilled labor and stringent foreign investment restrictions,” it said.

The article says although India launched several initiatives, including ‘Make in India’ to achieve the goal making India a manufacturing hub, lack of pragmatic reform measures led to their failure.

“Fundamentally speaking, India’s indulgence in its manufacturing prosperity illusion is partly derived from a rise in nationalism at home. A trend of US adoration has brought some to believe they could be better off by following the path set out by the US. Such thinking has often led India to make decisions unintentionally in line with the American interests at the expense of its own. Ironically, the US’ punitive trade policy against India may also help break its illusion.”

According to the article, “the battle between the dragon and the elephant of Asia is also evolving rapidly amid the changing geopolitical pattern, but the two major emerging markets will find a way of getting along. And during that process, pragmatism is what the Indian economy really needs, rather than wishful thinking fueled by hubris and derailment.”