As Sino-India tensions hit a new high, India is leaving no stone unturned to accelerate the process of the Chinese Communist Party’s demise.
Giving sleepless nights to the CCP policymakers in Beijing are the six leading faces of the Modi cabinet- Piyush Goyal, Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman and Nitin Gadkari.
India is fighting a wide battle with China spread across spectrums like the economic competition, diplomacy and of course military prowess. This is a turning point of the Sino-India relationship and it seems India is beating China at all fronts.
When it comes to diplomatic tussles, India has a career diplomat, Dr. S. Jaishankar heading India’s Foreign office. Dr. Jaishankar is the face of an assertive New Delhi when it comes to India’s interactions with Beijing. Recently, he has spoken at an interactive session hosted by the CII as part of the “India@75 Summit – Mission 2022” initiative.
Speaking about China, External Affairs Minister made it clear that India is not going to remain far behind China. He added, “We are seeing the parallel but differential rise of the two countries… To my mind, what it does is it puts a huge premium on reaching some kind of equilibrium or understanding between the two [in the interests of both countries]. How to do that is one of the big challenges that we face.”
The demand for “equilibrium” manifests India’s ambitions for a bigger role in international politics at the expense of China. The Foreign Office is already doing that by forging stronger partnerships like the Quad, which tend to contain the growing Chinese influence.
On the military front too, India has made it clear that it is not going to give in to Chinese bullying. The Indian Army has been mirroring Chinese mobilisations and build-ups along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had himself said, “Talks are underway (with China) to resolve the border dispute…it should be resolved. But to what extent it can be resolved, I cannot guarantee it. But let me assure you that no power in the world can either touch or capture even one inch of Indian Territory.”
Having been given a bloody nose on all fronts, China now wants to show its strength along the de facto Sino-India border. But, New Delhi’s promise to go for the jugular when push comes to shove is what keeping China on the back foot. Meanwhile, Singh has also announced that India is going to put an embargo on the imports of 101 defence items suggesting that India is going to go full throttle when it comes to indigenous defence manufacturing.
Recently, on his visit to Russia, Rajnath Singh also asked Russia to expedite the delivery of defence equipment, including the S-400 air defence system, which would give India much-needed firepower to match Chinese belligerence in Eastern Ladakh.
Apart from challenging China’s diplomatic and military theft, India is also accelerating the democratic world’s decoupling from the exports-based Chinese economy. Infrastructure, consumer goods, telecom and electronics, Chinese dominance is being challenged in every single sector.
Leading the charge is, of course, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She is at the helm of affairs in achieving Prime Minister Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) campaign. She has unveiled reforms across the agricultural and manufacturing sectors such as diluting the Essential Commodities Act and limiting the role of the Public Sector Undertakings to make India an investor-friendly destination.
Moreover, the Modi government has also restricted the FDI from countries that share a land border with India, making it a subject to government’s approval. The move is, of course, aimed at restricting FDI inflow from China. Reports also suggest that the government is planning to reduce FPI inflow from China.
Meanwhile, other Ministries are chipping in too. Commerce & Industry and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal also has taken the initiative. He recently took a dig at China, saying, “It is trust and transparency which determines the sustainability of global supply chains and nations must demonstrate their compliance with global rules of trade to remain a part of global trade flow.”
Under Goyal’s leadership, the Railways have been given a strong blow to China. Last month, the Indian Railways terminated Rs. 470 crores contract of the Chinese company for a signalling and telecommunication project, initially signed for the upcoming freight corridors. In the meantime, the Commerce Ministry is also tapping into the growing sentiment against Chinese goods.
Recently, a senior government official told ET, “In line with the decision taken at the highest levels of the government to reduce our dependence on China, the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) has reached out to trade associations, seeking a list of items imported from China ranging from automobiles, pharmaceuticals, toys, plastics, furniture etc by Monday.”
Besides, the Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari has also given some serious setbacks to China. Recently, he announced, “We will not give permission to joint ventures that have Chinese partners for road construction. We have taken a firm stand that if they (Chinese companies) come via joint venture in our country, we will not allow it.”
Speaking at India@75 summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Gadkari also said, “You may not like it, but we will have to increase import duties in some places,” suggesting more punitive action against Beijing.
Another big shock for China has come from the Indian IT and communication sectors with IT, Tele-communications and Electronics Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the helm of affairs. Under his leadership, India is going to bar BSNL from sourcing gear from Chinese telecom majors Huawei and ZTE. A troubled Chinese firm, Huawei might face more setbacks from India as private telecoms may also be banned from sourcing the Chinese equipments.
Prasad was also instrumental in banning 59 Chinese apps that included several big names like TikTok, CamScanner, SHAREit, etc. 275 more Chinese apps are said to be on the government’s radar. Prasad is, therefore, depriving Chinese tech giants of one of the biggest internet markets in the world. Recent reports suggest that India is also examining certain tech companies with alleged Chinese PLA links. This includes some of the biggest Chinese companies like Alibaba, Huawei and Tencent.
The six leading faces in the Modi government are thus giving sleepless nights to China and relentlessly threatening Beijing’s ambitions to become a superpower.