Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

From banned apps to GDP, China pursues relentless India bashing

New Delhi,  A rattled China, forced on the defensive by India’s astute and sharp military maneouvres on the border has lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even going to the extent of questioning re-election prospects for a third term in 2024.

From banning Chinese apps to fall in India’s GDP, China is on a relentless India bashing exercise aimed more pointedly at Modi.

According to a Global Times report, “Right after Indian troops once again illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control, New Delhi on Wednesday imposed a new ban on a swath of Chinese apps, showing reckless intention to further decouple with China economically. The move is a double-edged sword which will cause losses to both China and India, while offering a perfect opportunity for the US to take over the market”.

China is linking the border tension with the business relations between the two countries. “Alongside repeated moves to undermine the peace and stability on the China-India border area in the recent months, India has been recklessly taking measures to confront China in economic areas, such as banning Chinese apps, prolonging clearance procedure of containers shipped from China, and restricting foreign companies from participating in public procurement bids which has been regarded as targeting Chinese firms”.

China said the ban on Chinese apps is to cause losses for Chinese investors. “Actual reasons lurking behind the highly symbolic move are New Delhi’s intention to antagonize China and cause losses to Chinese investors. It is true that related Chinese firms will bare huge losses, however, the ban is a double-edged sword for India,” the report said.

China said the move will provide an opening to America. “In the wake of the comprehensive ban of Chinese apps, American capital which had lost advantage in the market will embrace the rosy opportunity to squeeze in and take over Chinese investors’ market share”, the report said.

In an earlier report, Chinese media outlet Global Times reported that India’s economy tanked from April to June by a whopping 23.9 percent, recording the steepest contraction among the world’s G20 countries, reflecting years of uneven development and the country’s fragile economic structure that melted down instantly under the impact of the Covid-19 onslaught.

China has lashed out at PM Modi. “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing mounting pressure as the current fiscal year is expected to see a drastic GDP contraction of at least 10 percent, as estimated by the economists based in India and abroad. Tens of millions of Indians are expected to return to poverty”, the report said.

“And, Modi’s hope to win his third term in 2024 is getting dimmer, as many Indian businesses and jobs are being wiped out permanently, and at the same time, the coronavirus pandemic is raging anew in the most populous country in South Asia, dealing a blow to any hope of an instant recovery,” Global Times said.

China has also linked the GDP fall to the border tensions. “To make things worse, New Delhi has lately unwisely provoked a new border brawl with China, conniving Indian troops to trespass the LAC (Line of Actual Control) and enter China’s side,” the report said.

It also warned that Chinese investments like Alibaba will run away because of the border tensions. “The ill-intended maneouvre will exacerbate the already frayed bilateral relations, and effectively drive away Chinese investments from India. Alibaba Group has already halted all new investments, vowing to slash jobs and scale down its operations in India, shortly. It is believed that more Chinese companies will follow and cut down their Indian businesses to reduce their exposure to risks in India”.

Following the bloody Galwan Valley border clash on June 15, New Delhi announced to ban 59 Chinese app services in India. The move has fundamentally shaken the previously brisk economic cooperation between the two large countries.

It also alleged that the border tension is to drive away attention from the Covid spread in India. “The worsening relations with China, which was somehow engineered by New Delhi to deflect its failure to contain the coronavirus spread, is expected to give the already faltering Indian economy another battering, as China’s huge market will gradually close to Indian goods and services due to the rising border tensions,” Global Times said.

“And, from the perspective of geo-economics, it’s utterly silly for New Delhi not to nurture a good relationship with China, whose economy is more than five times that of India and is still growing. As a neighbour of China, it is foolish not to align with Asia’s largest economy as Beijing had more than once extended a friendly hand to New Delhi which chose to neglect. A souring relationship with China will prove to be the most distressful thing for India in the coming months and years, because India can never move away from the giant and increasingly powerful neighbour,” China has warned.

Just a few years ago, India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, was one of the world’s fastest-growing large economies, clocking growth of 7 percent or higher. But the economy had begun to slow down since 2017. For example, car sales plunged 33 percent in August last year, the largest drop in two decades.

“And, Indian government’s finances are over stretched. In other words, it has been borrowing more than what it should have. If Covid-19 pandemic is not controlled and the public health crisis drags on to 2021, the country, stuck in an unprecedented economic recession, will face the double whammy of rising domestic and foreign debt repayments. The challenges before Prime Minister Modi are rising now,” Global Times said.

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