Modi’s task is jobs, and Chinese investment can help

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/28 20:30:36

Ahead of a general election due by May, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suffered a setback in an India Today poll, which showed his popularity rating had dropped to a record low of 46 percent.

Modi is facing growing discontent as people question whether his reforms can create enough jobs for Indian youth. This isn't good news for China. 

More than one year after the military standoff in Doklam, which plunged China-India relations to their lowest point in decades, bilateral ties are on the upswing. India has a weak central government and diverse population. We hope Modi can improve his public standing so that he can consolidate sufficient power to push forward reform and Sino-India economic cooperation as bilateral relations warm up.

But how can Modi improve his image? 

While India is eager to attract foreign investment to prop up the economy and employment, the public has complex emotions toward Chinese companies' success in the country. 

The Times of India said in an article on Sunday that India is losing the artificial intelligence battle to China, adding there were only 18 Chinese mobile apps among the top 100 apps on the Google Playstore in India a year ago, but that number has since doubled.

It seems India has a dilemma: If New Delhi restricts Chinese investment, the move will unavoidably cut job opportunities for young people. China's investment in India is mainly focused on labor-intensive sectors such as building smartphone plants. China is witnessing a boom in outbound investment as its labor cost advantage shrinks. 

If India can make itself an attractive destination for Chinese investment, this will support employment in the South Asian country.

A country usually has different priorities in its policy design at different stages of economic development. Earlier this month, an estimated 200 million people went on a two-day strike across India, media reports said, bringing the country to a standstill. 

India is facing an increasing tough situation in creating jobs and improving wages for its workers. In other words, more importance will be attached to job creation in policy design. The Modi administration needs good news in terms of job growth ahead of the upcoming general election.

Encouraging Chinese companies to invest in India's labor-intensive industries will help achieve this goal, and rapid growth in Chinese investment will help consolidate Modi's political status before the general election.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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