India says will not take sides in US-China trade spat
Beijing: India on Sunday said it would not take sides in the ongoing trade spat between the US and China as it concluded the key Strategic Economic Dialogue with Beijing during which differences persisted over China's controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Remarks by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar came as he held the fifth Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) dialogue with his Chinese counterpart He Lifeng, the chairman of China's top planning body the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), here on Saturday.
During the talks, the BRI also came up for discussion.
"India suo motu has been the supporter of the rule-based multilateral trading order. In that sense, we don't have to take sides either one-way or the other," Kumar told the media when asked about India's stand on the current trade spat between China and US.
The SED, a key platform between India and China to discuss trade and economic issues, was resumed this year after last year's disruption amid Dokalam standoff.
The meeting took place amid growing rapprochement between the two countries after the standoff.
"India has always taken independent position on trade issues," Kumar told the Indian media.
His remarks came as the US and China announced tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's products. US President Trump is ramping up pressure on China to cut the $375 bilateral billion trade deficit.
"While India does not like any measures that harm the rule based international trade regime, there is no reason to take sides in this," he said.
"We are not that level of player inf the market. Our shares are much smaller. We are the takers of the rules than makers," he said.
Kumar mentioned the US and Japanese trade war in late 1980 when Washington successfully pressured Japan to cut the trade deficit.
"That is what the US is still expecting. If you notice, both sides have announced their position (to cut tariffs) but they have not given the dates. This is posturing," he said.
"I don't think anybody is interested in trade war and trade crisis," he said.