India’s offensive defence against China and its ecosystem

by Editorial

Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Ladakh. It was a surprise for the nation. To be fair there have been multiple occasions when PM Modi visited armed forces camps in forward areas. Then why everyone was caught in surprise when PM visited Ladakh? The reason lies in the bravery of the 20 valiant Indian soldiers who fought and laid their lives at the Galwan Valley. Indian Army under the Commanding Officer Santosh Babu went to the place to inspect the disengagement process. The incident took place on the night of 15-16 June. The slain soldiers were identified and were given last rites with praise and honour.

On one hand, India has been saluting the bravery of the soldiers while on the other hand people called out for the ban on Chinese products. The uproar against China has been rising. The government took serious note of the misadventure of the Chinese army. The orders of putting the armed forces on high alert were issued. The Western sector concerning to China i.e. Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, The central sector, Nepal, and Sikkim and eastern sector or Arunachal Pradesh were put on high alert. The works of infrastructural development continued with full swing in the Ladakh and other areas. With advanced infrastructure and The Air Force India could mobilise 3 divisions of the armed forces in Ladakh. Indian Air Force has deployed almost all types of fighter and transport planes on alert. More companies of ITBP are to be deployed in various sectors. On one hand, the armed forces are being mobilised to project the preparedness and determination while on the other hand the government has been gathering and deploying non-military actions.

Hitting where it hurts the most

India has been taking various steps against China with focus on ‘hitting, where it hurts the most’. The first and one of the most important decisions on the background of the Galwan clash is banning 59 Chinese apps in India. According to Section 59A of the Information Technology Act, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MoEITY) issued the order of banning 59 apps. These apps include TikTok, UC Browser, Likee, WeChat, Bigo Live, CamScanner among many others. While issuing the order, the ministry has stated that these apps are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, and public order. According to Chinese media reports, the parent company of TikTok, ByteDnace Ltd. has predicted the loss of over $6 billion due to the ban on Tiktok in India. The predicted amount of loss is probably more than the combined losses for all other Chinese apps banned in India. ByteDance states it would be a huge blow to the global expansion of TikTok. In the first quarter of this year 611 million times TikTok was downloaded in India. It equates to 30.3% of its total downloads worldwide in the quarter. Considering this fact we can see that India is the largest market outside China for TikTok.

Hitting Chinese ecosystem

The government has been issuing directives to departments and industrial sectors associated with it to avoid, ban import, use of the Chinese products. The Ministry of Communications has issued an order to BSNL, MTNL and other private companies to ban all Chinese deals and equipment. They have been asked to avoid Chinese equipment in upgrade. The objective of the move is to reduce the import of Chinese finished goods by $13 billion by December 2021. The government has issued an order that says: No purchase of Made-inChina goods on government e-marketplace. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has issued an office memorandum for all officials, departments, PSU, Food Corporation of India, and Central Warehousing Corporation to not procure goods Made in China. The Union Ministry of Power, New and Renewable Energy has issued an order to ban all the Chinese products for power sector establishment upgradations, new works. India has slapped anti-dumping duty on several steel products from China, Vietnam, and South Korea for 5 years. Union the Commerce Ministry’s investigation arm, Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) had found these countries were exporting offerings to India under associated normal prices. To protect the domestic steel manufacturers India has imposed anti-dumping duty. No Chinese company will be allowed to enter directly or via a joint venture in a highway construction bid. NHAI put a firm hold on in one of the stretches of the crucial Delhi-Mumbai corridor. India is finalising the list of countries to replace China in supplying critical components or manufacture locally. After finalising the list government will reach out to these countries to enable easy access to these products. The government is taking steps and efforts to avoid imports from China and promote local manufacturers to enable them for “Be vocal for local”, the private sector is also expressing its determination for avoiding Chinese goods and dependence on Chinese imports. India’s largest kitchen appliances maker Prestige decided to stop importing items and parts from China post 30 September. JSW Group has decided to reduce its trade deficit with China from $400 million to 0 in 2 years. Indian smartphone company Lava has launched a contest to design the next Indian smartphone. The contest to run in 3 parts — ideation creating a prototype and presentation. Lava exports 33% of phones to Mexico, Africa, Southeast Asia and West Asia. Hero Cycles cancels Rs 900 crore deal with China as part of its commitment to boycott Chinese products.

Galvanising pressure on China

 The world is also realising the threat posed by Chinese expansionist, imperialist steps. These steps are not just military but through technology, projects like OBOR, and many more. The United States of America has taken various steps to curb Chinese aggression. The US House of Representatives has approved new Hong Kong related sanctions against the National Security Law that poses a threat to the autonomy of Hong Kong. The National Security Law passed by China states 4 offences, secession, subvention, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act puts sanctions on banks that do business with Chinese officials who are involved in cracking down pro-democracy protesters in the city.

Three aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Nimitz, and USS Ronald Reagan have been sent to the South China Sea for ‘‘routine exercises’. But it has been clarified by the US that the purpose of these exercises is to show unambiguous signals to partners and allies that the US is committed to regional security and stability. The US telecom regulator designated Chinese Huawei, ZTE as national security threats. Citing that these companies have substantial ties with government and military apparatus as well as Chinese laws obligating it to cooperate with any Chinese government request to use or access its system for intelligence and surveillance. The US has listed 20 companies that could be hit with sanctions. The 1999 law authorises the US President authorisation to impose sanctions to specified Chinese companies that operate directly or indirectly in the US. India has opened a new diplomatic front against China. India has raised the issue of Hong Kong in the United Nations Human Rights Council. Canada has suspended the extradition treaty with Hong Kong over the new security law imposed by China. It says the law is a threat to One Country, Two Systems that are supposed to be for 50 years after the British handed over Hong Kong to China. Three lakh Canadians live in Hong Kong. Canada will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong. Canada will treat sensitive goods being sent to Hong Kong as if they being sent to mainland China. The UK is willing to cut out Huawei from its 5G Network. GCHQ, intelligence, and security organisation responsible for signals intelligence to government and armed forces have reassessed risks posed by the Chinese company.

The US, France, Japan, Israel extended its support to India after the Galwan clashes. The Government of India has been taking major steps at the domestic level as well as at a global level through diplomatic channels. The approach of hitting where it hurts most is gathering momentum worldwide. China has lost credibility in recent times due to multiple issues, starting from the eruption of the Covid-19 virus to staking claims over territories of various countries including Russia. China recently claimed over the easternmost city of Russia Vladivostok. Realising the counterforce China has been iterating the tone of importance of talks, resolving matters peacefully. As the Prime Minister rightly stated in his speech at Ladakh while addressing the troops, expansionism has never succeeded in the world, it is the development that lasts long.

Dhaval Patel is a digital consultant based out of Surat with keen interest in Public Policy, Economics, Defence Strategy, Cyber Security & Politics. He has written articles on various topics in top publications and online portals. He is also a regular TV panelist on prominent news channels.

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