India’s government response, as well as the public sentiment, towards the evolving border tensions with China, has been one of economic boycott of Chinese goods and services. The impact and effectiveness of this response remains to be seen, but it does complement PM Modi’s call for atmanirbharta, or a self-reliant India, where our economic recovery from Covid-19 could be built on the back of the domestic industry and local value creation. Boycott alone, however, whether based on a change in consumer demand or through trade barriers, is not a sufficient condition for deepening the domestic market.
The solar sector, which forms the spine of India’s clean energy ambitions, presents a case in point. As much as 80% of India’s cells and modules are imported from China. India currently has an installed solar capacity of 34 GW, and a target of 100 GW by 2022. As much as 22 GW of solar capacity is in the pipeline and another 25 GW is in various stages of the tendering process.