The western media outlets have been touting India's competitiveness comparing it with close rival China. This is giving many Indians false impressions about the country's actual situation. Such thinking is dangerous and misguided with conceit, trickling deeper beyond the nation's economic woes to the military level, who now mistakenly believe that India is now ready to combat China on the border issues.
Unrealism at its best: China vs. India
It is absolutely unrealistic to think that India is looking at an opportunity to take control of larger market share in Asia, on the backdrop of increasing tensions between China and the US in current times. India is not in a position to attract a large manufacturing shift of industrial chains because of poor infrastructure capabilities, stringent foreign investment guidelines and lack of technically equipped skilled labour.
With China speaking up in its defence for the world blame on Coronavirus emergence, it would be rather delusional for world economies and the western media to assume or imagine - India will now take over as the largest manufacturing factory in Asia next.
The illusion of India's manufacturing prosperity is delusional, partially derived from a sense of false nationalistic beliefs practised at home. Also, a trend of US adoration practised by many Indians has led them to believe that the nation's progress is guaranteed by following trails set out by the US, without questioning the fundamentals and belief systems in place and neither customising the approaches to be developed India-specific.
A rather confusing national political agenda is unintentionally making decisions in favour of American interests, at the expense of hurting our own tremendous growth potential. The US punitive trade policy against India could perhaps help the nation break-free of its illusion.
Tiding over Covid-19 crisis in APAC
At present, the Asia-Pacific economies are hovered by dark clouds of coronavirus and slowly recovering from the shock that has disrupted global industrial supply chains. The economy-crippling lockdown, however, has not deterred India's ambitious spirit to emerge stronger and better during these crisis times.
In its pursuit to replace China by expanding the industrial supply chain, India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh is forming an economic task force to attract FDIs in the state, eyeing a manufacturing shift from China.
The Modi government has launched various initiatives to support the nation's goal of becoming self-reliant, 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' mission to emerge as the next biggest manufacturing hub in Asia, with the "Make in India" mission, allowing PPPs (public-private partnerships) in certain sectors, and opening up markets for FDIs. However, the government's failure to implement pragmatic reforms on the ground has been the key reason for its never-ending manufacturing woes, besides of course lack of infrastructure and technically skilled labour.
As the battle between the dragons and the elephants of Asia evolves alongside the changing geopolitical environment, the two markets are closely looking at means and measures to stand together and pave through the crisis times successfully. These times, demand of India to be absolutely pragmatic, rather than dwelling on wishful thinking fueled by national hubris.