am sure we all remember our childhood days and the times we spent playing bat
and ball. Someone would own a bat, someone a ball, someone else a few wickets,
one of us would own a pair of gloves, etc. We would all be enjoying the game
till the lad owning the bat gets clean bowled. He would fret and fume and say
it was unfair and when the rest of us would stick to the umpire’s decision, he
would walk away with his bat. The game would end on a sad note. It’s so similar
with what India is trying to do with China. I don’t want to play with you
Indian government’s discreet call to boycott Chinese goods is a far more
serious call than the young boy walking away with his bat. The US too is not
far behind in this almost juvenile act. Trump has gone ahead and banned visas
of different kinds, thereby restricting a whole lot of aspiring young Indian IT
software engineers from getting into the US and working for mega Silicon Valley
based companies. Just because India refused some American airlines from flying into
India during this pandemic season, Trump got mighty angry. And it was not very
long ago that Trump had said that Modi is his very dear friend.
grouse with China started with the killing of Indian soldiers by Chinese troops
in some place around our territorial borders. Reports suggest that we too
killed several Chinese soldiers. Instead of talking it out and discussing it at
the highest levels, India has gone ballistic and is asking every Indian to
boycott Chinese products. How serious is this? Extremely serious, I feel.
the sake of argument, let me take you all more than a 100 years back, to the
beginning of the 20th century and introduce you all to the real “Make
in India” campaign that was initiated, not by Mr Modi and his team, but by the
Indian National Congress. The campaign
then was called the Swadeshi Movement and it was officially proclaimed on
August 7, 1905 at the Calcutta Town Hall, in Bengal. The movement entailed using
goods produced in India and burning British-made goods. A lot of British-made
goods were burned in India. The Swadeshi Movement began after the British
government decided the partition of Bengal.
the same time, the father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi wanted khadi to be popularised
and with the help of the “charka” (a hand operated spinning machine) he wanted
Indians to spin their own cloth, boycott British goods completely and also wear
than 100 years have passed since the “Swadeshi” movement started and to find
someone wearing a khadi dress in India today is like looking for an Eskimo in
Rajasthan! Now it’s the turn to boycott Chinese
goods. What is the extent of trade between China and India? According to a report,
China’s exports to India stood at 515.63 billion yuan (about USD 74.72 billion)
in 2019, an increase of 2.1 % and China’s import from India was 123.89 billion
yuan (about USD 17.95 billion), a decrease of 0.2%.
by these figures, it is obvious that the trade between the two countries is
huge. So where do we start our boycott and with what? Trade is one thing that
brings countries together and helps each to grow. Today you may be dependent on
a foreign good, but tomorrow you may be smart enough to make that in India.
That’s what trade does; it helps us to get smart and innovative. But that again
depends on a country. If a country wants to be eternally dependent on another,
so be it. But India has come a long way since Independence.
A boycott will only
disrupt things for the Indian industry. Rather than a boycott, India must
slowly veer away from depending too much on China and develop its own
capabilities in making whatever China does. In short, we need to beat them in
their own game over a period of time.
And among the
industries that have really become global entities to be reckoned with is the
Indian automobile industry that comprises not only of vehicle manufacturers but
also of ancillary manufacturers making everything from nuts and bolts to
heavily engineered engine parts, crankshafts, pistons, valves, et al.
Motor India is basically UK based Morris Garages that is owned by SAIC Motor
Company, the largest auto company in China. Do we boycott the MG Hector SUV and
the MG ZS electric vehicle? Does it make sense? Both the vehicles are brilliant
four wheelers that are made in India at the Halol plant in Gujarat by Indian
workers. And those who have bought the cars in India vouch for their brilliant performance.
Then pray, why have we put on hold the investment by Great Wall Motor (another
Chinese auto company) for a staggered US 1 billion investment in the Talegoan
facility in Maharashtra that would eventually give jobs to more than 3000 Indian
are only the tip of the Chinese investment iceberg. Critical auto components
come from China, critical raw materials for the auto industry come from China, a
lot of decent technology for the auto industry comes from China, electric
battery raw material comes from China, the list goes on and on. So why
destablise your auto industry over this boycott call?
coming back to the question of where to start your Chinese boycott, that could
be very confusing. The other day I bought a pedestal fan from Amazon e-commerce
site. I opted for “Usha” which I am sure all of you will agree is a popular Indian
brand. The moment the packet came in I was surprised to find the label saying “Made
in China”. I am surely not going to boycott that. I bought it with my hard
earned money. A lot of things in my house are “Made in China” and have been
bought paying Indian taxes. I have not smuggled it in through some sleazy route
of Chinese goods, there is far too much of China in our lives today. That does
not make us Chinese or our loyalty all in favour of China. Our clothes, our
zips, our bra hooks, our under clothes, our mobile phones, our electronic
goods, our cars, our motorcycles, our scooters, our trucks, our white goods,
our shoes, our building material, our tools... almost all of them have an
element of China in it.
is not a positive word, Rather “Make in India” are positive words. Let’s keep
making as much as possible in India, but at the end of the day, we need to
travel, we need to trade, we need to use each other’s resources and technologies,
all of which are very normal and critical.
you imagine that hydroxychloroquine that India makes to fight malaria and now
to some extent the coronavirus, is made with the help of China because the key
active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) required to make hydroxychloroquine are imported from China?
said and done, Indian brands and Chinese brands have to co-exist in this world.
You cannot have Patanjali all over. Just a day or so back, the Ministry of Ayush
and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asked Patanjali group to stop the
promotions and prove their claim first before announcing that their 'Coronil' is
a cure for COVID. It’s a different matter that the yoga master insists that his
company’s product is a cure against COVID-19! The rest of the world’s
scientists and researchers are not such dimwits either that they are unable to come
out with a cure first.
a patanjali car, a patanjali scooter, or a patanjali motorcycle, all sound so
weird. Similarly, don’t ask Indians to boycott Chinese goods. And that goes for
Trump too when it comes to banning certain visas. All this reminds me of the
bat and ball story of yore.
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