Akhilesh calls for economic reply to China, has his hands on popular pulse
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav has called for cancellation of contracts awarded to Chinese companies as part of an economic reply to China in addition to the strategic response for the killing 20 Indian soldiers at the line of actual control in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on Monday.
Akhilesh’s call on Wednesday follows similar demands by some other groups including RSS linked Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), whose members protested outside the Chinese Embassy earlier today.
“Govt should not only give strategic but also an economic reply. Contracts awarded to Chinese companies should be suspended with immediate effect; restrain imports from China. Samajwadi Party will support the government in any such endeavour for the country’s sake,” Akhilesh Yadav tweeted in Hindi on Wednesday.
Akhilesh’s suggestion comes close on the heels of demand by the SJM to oust Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co Ltd (STEC)- a Chinese company—from the project to build the underground stretch of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit System) corridor.
STEC has emerged as the lowest bidder for the project and the government clarified on Wednesday that the part of the project was funded by the Asian development bank and it was obligated to not discriminate between companies or countries.
“Five bidders submitted bids and qualified for financial bid opening including (i) SKEC (Korea) +Tata, (ii) STEC (China), (iii) L&T (India), (iv)Afcons (India) and (v) GulermakAgir (Turkey). On 12th June 2020 - Financial bids were opened – M/s STEC emerged as lowest bidder. The tender is under process and yet to be finalised. Pl note that the ADB/World Bank/Multi-lateral procurement guidelines do not allow discrimination among firms/ countries,” a government press release clarified.
A news agency reported that protestors in Varanasi burned Chinese flag and effigy of Chinese President Xi Jinping and said that similar protests were also seen in Patna and Gujarat.
The ‘boycott Chinese goods’ sentiment has surfaced in India from time to time and it witnessed a surge recently when innovator and education reformist Sonam Wangchuk posted a video last month asking Indians to shun all Chinese products including the popular mobile application TikTok in response to the Ladakh stand-off.
Wagchuk’s video from Ladakh drew over 20 lakh views in two days.
India has lodged a strong protest with the Chinese government over the Galwan Valley incident in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and blamed Beijing for seeking to alter the status of the line of actual control by erecting a structure on the Indian side. A statement issued by the ministry on Wednesday evening said Chinese actions were directly responsible for the violence that led to casualties.