BENGALURU: IN the advent of war over the India-China standoff at Doklam, trade between the two countries would be severely affected, said N Parthasarathi, former Consul General of India in San Francisco. Delivering a lecture at a symposium organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security on Saturday, he said maintaining status quo was the best option.
“If it comes down to a war, it will not be limited to being a land war. India and China cannot ignore each other as trade partners,” he said. In 2016-17, Indian imports from China were worth $61.3 billion. “99% of mobile phones are from China. Our exports -- worth about $12 billion — don’t make a difference to China. But China looks at India as a lucrative market. It can’t impose trade sanctions. It is also interested in the mergers and acquisitions of several companies. Now because of this standoff, a lot of investors will adopt a wait-and-watch policy. This will be economically disastrous.”
He said 80 per cent of China’s energy requirements pass through the Indian Ocean and Malacca Straits where India has an advantage with the Navy. “We have the capabilities to stop its supplies, but it should not come down to it,” he said.
Lt Gen V M Patil, who was the first defence advisor in Indian Embassy in Vietnam, provided the military perspective on the issue.
He said war should be the last resort. “As opposed to the 1.5 per cent of GDP that India spends on defence, China’s GDP is eight times more and it spends 4 per cent of its GDP on defence,” he said.