An Indian government minister has called for an economic boycott of China, following a deadly Chinese-Indian military clash in a disputed border region.
“China is a country that betrays”, Ramdas Athawale, India’s minister for social justice and empowerment wrote on Twitter, adding that India “should boycott all Chinese goods”. He then became more specific, posting, “Chinese restaurants and hotels serving Chinese food should be closed in India!”
Athawale is known for making bold proclamations. He previously made the headlines for a show of solidarity with China in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The video of the event where the minister was chanting“Corona, go!” along with the crowd went viral on Indian social media.
His call for a boycott comes after 20 Indian troops were killed in skirmishes with Chinese forces in the Galwan Valley, in the Ladakh region of the western Himalayas. Hundreds of soldiers reportedly fought each other in a melee for several hours in what was the most brutal conflict between the two powers in 45 years.
The incident has dramatically increased tensions between the neighboring countries. Indian demonstrators in Uttar Pradesh were filmed publicly setting fire to a Chinese flag and burning an effigy of China’s leader, Xi Jinping.
A major Chinese engineering firm is set to lose a significant contract with Indian Railways, the Indian Express newspaper has reported. India’s telecommunications department has also directed a state-owned corporation not to use Chinese-made equipment when upgrading. The governmental body has also advised private telecoms against depending on Chinese gear in general.