According to paper by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), a policy think tank, 327 products ranging from mobile phones and telecom equipment to cameras, solar panels, air-conditioners and penicillin — accounting for nearly three-fourths of the imports from China — can be alternatively sourced or manufactured in India.
A report by Times of India said the think tank used UN Comtrade data to estimate the value of these "critically sensitive imports" at USD 66.6 billion in 2018 in overall imports of a little over USD 90 billion. In 2018-19, official numbers had pegged imports from China at USD 76.4 billion.
In terms of the number of goods imported from across the border, the share of the 327 sensitive products was less than 10 per cent of the 4,000-odd items that were imported from China.
But there are also products where China is the sole exporter. The product base ranges from everyday-use items such as earphones and headphones to microwave ovens and certain types of washing machines. The list also has several types of machinery, some auto components, escalator components, certain acids and chemicals and fertilisers like diammonium phosphate, where China is the sole supplier.
The report’s author, S K Mohanty, told TOI that in several cases, domestic production should be encouraged, something that the government is trying to do through the incentive scheme for production of mobile and electronic goods and pharmaceutical products. The commerce and industry ministry has also identified a dozen sectors, ranging from furniture and footwear to air-conditioners, where it is seeking to provide sops.