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The anti-China wave gathers steam

As the mood on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) continues to remain tense after the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a violent clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley on the night of June 15, the Indian government gives “full freedom” to the local commanders to give a “befitting” response to any Chinese misadventure.

In this backdrop, Oppo found members of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) outside its manufacturing plant in Greater Noida burning effigies of Chinese products and China’s president Xi Jinping. They also set on fire a flag of China.

The Chinese phone maker, which also makes handsets for sister brand Realme and OnePlus in-house, had resumed operations in its Greater Noida facility in the last week of May after staying shut during the initial phases of the COVID-19 lockdown. The plant is still running 30 percent capacity as permissible under home ministry’s lockdown guidelines.

The two leading operators, VIL and Bharti Airtel may also have to sever their ties with their Chinese vendors, Huawei and ZTE. This would mean that the CSPs may very well be forced to shortly pay USD 600-650 million and USD 300 million respectively in Chinese vendor dues. As of now, the telecom ministry is likely to meet all the private operators to urge them to bring down their dependence on Chinese-made telecom equipment.

COAI has stated unambiguously that the government had not mandated exclusion of any vendors’ equipment from private operator networks. When government makes laws, companies are “duty-bound” to comply with them, it said. “Geopolitical issues are the provenance of the government and such decisions are distinct; and should ideally be kept separate from commercial decisions which are the provenance of companies. As such, companies are driven in their decisions by the interest of provisioning the best possible service to their customers and to take care of the interest of their stakeholders,” said COAI Director General, Rajan Mathews.

In another development, the DoT has directed state-owned BSNL and MTNL to exclude Chinese gearmakers from supplying telecom equipment any further. The immediate impact is on the tender the PSU had invited for planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and annual maintenance of 4G mobile network in North, East, West and South zones of BSNL, and MTNL, Delhi and Mumbai on turnkey basis. The value of the order is estimated at Rs 8697 crore.

In sync with the current sentiment, the Union Home Ministry is likely to stall security clearance to a clutch of Chinese companies seeking to invest in India. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) received more than 20 proposals for foreign direct investment (FDI), including from China and Hong Kong, requiring security clearance between April and May.

CT Bureau

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