New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi put out a call for a self-reliant economy on 12 May while announcing a $266 billion stimulus package for the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing the nation on 15 August, Modi underlined the need to become for India to be self-reliant as a whole.

In a move that may impact Chinese exports to India, the Indian government is working on overhauling its current basic customs duty structure.

A government source has indicated that as per deliberations in the Indian Ministry of Finance, as many as 300 items will see a hike in basic customs duty. The effort is to align the customs duty with the vision of a self-reliant Indian economy proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A government source close to the development told Sputnik on condition of anonymity that the "Prime Minister's Office has held several rounds of discussions with the Ministry of Finance on hiking the basic customs duty on over 300 items, imported majorly from China".

The source indicated the items on which the import duty could be hiked immediately are textiles, electronic goods, steel, and solar equipment. A large share of imports of these products is currently sourced from China.

India has been trying to correct its trade deficit with China and ever since the border dispute between the two erupted in April of this year, the former has upped the ante.

According to data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between India and China amounted to about $87 billion in 2018-19.

But the balance of trade is heavily lopsided in favour of China, with India’s trade deficit running over $50 billion between 2016 and 2019.

India has retaliated against China since a border dispute began in April. 

Measures such as banning over a hundred mobile applications owned by Chinese firms and imposing tariff restrictions on Chinese imports, have been taken by New Delhi. Major Chinese apps such as TikTok and the UC Browser have been banned as well. 

India has restricted Chinese foreign direct investment and Beijing's participation in public procurement projects.

In the last couple of months, import duties have been hiked on agricultural tillers, and bamboo, and anti-dumping duty on certain varieties of steel has been extended until December of this year.