Apps axe hits mark, be prepared for China’s response
In the short run, it would be extremely difficult for India to damage China economically given its massive dependence on the northern neighbour in many sectors.
Published: 01st July 2020 04:00 AM | Last Updated: 01st July 2020 07:30 AM | A+A A-
If the Chinese government’s reactions and that of the Global Times, the Chinese communist party’s mouthpiece, are anything to go by, then the Indian government’s ban on 59 Chinese apps is hurting them. While the government said it was concerned over the development, the newspaper’s editor appeared to mock India, claiming that even if the Chinese people wanted to boycott Indian products and goods, they would find it difficult to find them. Clearly, India can assume that Monday night’s action in retaliation for the ongoing face-off in eastern Ladakh has achieved its purpose.
But to put the ban in perspective, the Chinese would have been more hurt egotistically rather than economically. In the short run, it would be extremely difficult for India to damage China economically given its massive dependence on the northern neighbour in many sectors. From pharmaceutical to telecom and many others, Indian business needs China. Chinese investors have put in over $5.5 billion in the past four years in Indian start-ups, including many that are now flourishing. China is also India’s largest trading partner after the US. It is clear that damaging Chinese business interests as payback for the Ladakh clashes and the death of Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley is not going to happen so soon.
But nonetheless, the only way to strike back at China and its hegemonic designs are through economic measures. Hitting back militarily or diplomatically is not an option that is open to India. The Ladakh stand-off, as also the Covid-19 pandemic, has only underlined one thing, that India needs to be self-reliant economically and militarily in order to be a strong nation. As long as it is dependent on other countries on these two counts, any retaliatory step will be weak and hardly a deterrent.
But having taken the bull by the horns, India now needs to be wary of China’s next move. Experts have often warned that the Chinese never forget. So India’s action is unlikely to go unanswered. There are already reports that China has stepped up its troop presence along the border in Arunachal Pradesh. Hopefully the government has thought through Monday’s action and has many aces up its sleeves.