NEW DELHI: Amidst the ongoing LAC standoff and the diplomatic tensions with China, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought suggestions from the Commerce Ministry on how to curb imports from the hostile neighbouring country, sources said on Tuesday.
This is part of the measures taken by the Narendra Modi to put more diplomatic and economic pressure on China in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese troops were killed.
According to sources, the PMO has asked the Commerce Ministry to suggest steps through which imports from China can be reduced. The PMO has also reviewed the issue of the free trade agreement (FTA) from other countries as well.
Sources claimed that the government is constantly reviewing the FTA to prevent the dumping of cheap goods in the country in the name FTA from other countries. It is likely that in such a scenario, the government might take strict steps to reduce imports from many more countries in the days to come in order to further embolden the ”Self-Reliant India” campaign.
The government’ is also reviewing the import of goods from ASEAN countries, including South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore etc.
The PMO has also sought product-wise details of cheap imports, tax disadvantages (if any) and comparison with the domestic prices from all sectors. The move aims at curbing low-quality imports from China, to promote manufacturing at the domestic level under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ mission.
A Reuters report claimed that the Centre is reviewing around 50 investment proposals involving Chinese companies under a new screening policy.
Under new rules announced by India in April, all investments by entities based in neighbouring countries need to be approved by the Indian government, whether for new or additional funding, it quoted sources as saying.
China is the biggest of these investors and the rules drew criticism from Chinese investors and Beijing, which called the policy discriminatory.
The new investment rules were aimed at curbing opportunistic takeovers during the coronavirus outbreak. However, industry executives say a deterioration in bilateral relations since a clash along the countries` contested border last month, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, could further delay approvals.
Last week, the Narendra Modi government banned 59, mostly Chinese, mobile apps including Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent`s WeChat, in its strongest move yet targeting China in the online space since the border crisis erupted last month.
The move has potentially dented big Chinese businesses` expansion plans for the South Asian market. Chinese companies` existing and planned investments in India stand at more than $26 billion, research group Brookings said in March.
In an unprecedented move, India on Monday (June 29) banned 59 Chinese mobile apps including TikTok, UC Browser and Cam Scanner among others.
A statement from the government said that the apps are ‘engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order’.
It is believed that the Centre decided to ban these apps due to the ongoing tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control. Indian experts maintained that even if the relationship with China does not deteriorate, these apps should not have been allowed to operate in India.