The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has announced that it will burn Chinese goods on 19 March in order to “teach a lesson” to China.
“The time has come when China should suffer due to its proximity with Pakistan. The CAIT has launched a national campaign to boycott Chinese goods among the trading community of the country, calling the traders not to sell or buy Chinese goods”, the confederation, which represents at least 70 million traders, said in a statement on Thursday.
The statement was echoed by Ashwani Mahajan, a leader of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch organisation with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mahajan invoked a call by the “Father of the Nation” Mahatma Gandhi to boycott Chinese products.
“Taking a cue from history, best way to defeat China is #BoycottChinese and strong action from govt on trade front,” Mahajan tweeted, posting an image of a newspaper ad dating back to 1921, which urged people to burn foreign-made clothes as part of a Gandhi-led protest against British colonial rule.
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, for his part, warned against jumping to conclusions, saying that “it’s a diplomatic issue", and that "India will take a decision after a careful thought".
“We’re not a small player on the global stage, but foreign policy issues are tackled in a measured way, not in a knee-jerk manner”, he pointed out.
The developments come after the United States, Britain and France called on the UN Security Council’s Daesh* and al Qaeda sanctions committee to subject Masood Azhar, founder of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group, to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze.
Over the past twelve months, trade between China and India has increased to $89.71 billion Chinese products, with Beijing remaining New Delhi’s second-biggest trade partner. Chinese products imported by India include mobile phones made by companies such as Xiaomi Inc and a variety of toys.
The JeM group claimed responsibility for the 14 February suicide attack that killed over 40 Indian soldiers in Kashmir and that was followed by escalation of Indian-Pakistani tensions which culminated in the 27 February dogfight during which each side lost a warplane.
*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a spate of other countries