Indian groups urge boycott of Chinese goods over stance on Pakistani militant

Toys are displayed inside a Chinese toy shop at a market in Kolkata, October 11, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 14 March 2019

Indian groups urge boycott of Chinese goods over stance on Pakistani militant

  • China is India’s second biggest trading partner
  • Chinese products — from mobile phones made by companies such as Xiaomi Inc. to toys — are ubiquitous in India and trade between the countries

NEW DELHI: An influential Hindu nationalist group and an Indian traders body called on Thursday for a boycott of Chinese goods, to slap Beijing for blocking a move to put a Pakistani militant leader on a UN terrorist list following a suicide attack last month.
Regarded by Pakistan as its most reliable friend, China has repeatedly thwarted efforts to implement UN sanctions against Masood Azhar, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the group that claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 40 paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents 70 million traders, said it would burn Chinese goods on March 19 to “teach a lesson” to China.
“The time has come when China should suffer due to its proximity with Pakistan,” CAIT said in a statement. “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 United States, Britain and France asked the Security Council’s Islamic State and Al-Qaeda sanctions committee to subject the Jaish leader to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze.
But China a placed a “technical hold” on the proposal, saying it needed more time to consider, using the same stalling tactic it has used in the past.
Mounting impatience with Beijing’s stance was evident on social media on Thursday as #BoycottChineseProducts was the second-highest trending hashtag on Twitter in India.
Similar campaigns in the past have proved ineffectual.
China is India’s second biggest trading partner. Chinese products — from mobile phones made by companies such as Xiaomi Inc. to toys — are ubiquitous in India and trade between the countries grew to nearly $90 billion in the year ending March 2018.
The leader of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist group with close ties to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also called for a boycott of Chinese goods.
He also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recommending that India hit Beijing with higher tariffs.
“Government of India needs to take immediate action to raise tariff duties on all Chinese imports,” Ashwani MaHajjan said in the letter, seen by Reuters.
“China, which is already under economic stress, thanks to trade war initiated by US and other trade partners of China, will definitely realize the implications of the unjust action of protecting terrorists.”
India’s trade ministry said in an email the country can’t take any unilateral punitive action against a fellow member of the World Trade Organization.
A senior government official, who refused to be named as he was not authorized to speak to media, said there has been a move to “restrict” Chinese imports but that India was not in a position to replace products such as electronics
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley warned against any hasty reaction.
“It’s a diplomatic issue, and India will take a decision after a careful thought,” Jaitley told CNN-News18. “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.”
With just weeks to go before a general election, India’s main opposition Congress party said Modi’s attempts to improve ties with China were not yielding results.
“Weak Modi is scared of Xi. Not a word comes out of his mouth when China acts against India,” Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed message seeking comment on the boycott calls.
Renu Kohli, an independent economist in New Delhi, doubted whether any boycott would hit critical mass.
“It’s going to fizzle out sooner or later when the consumer realizes that their pocket is being hit by costlier domestic products,” said Kohli.


Oman said to mull new regional airline

Updated 22 October 2019

Oman said to mull new regional airline

DUBAI: Oman is considering setting up a new regional airline that could take over domestic operations from state carrier Oman Air, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A request for proposal was issued this month by state entity Oman Aviation Group for a feasibility study into operating the new airline, “Oman Link,” the sources said.

Setting up a new airline for domestic flights would allow Oman Air to focus on its international network where it competes with large Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways.

The new airline could partner with Oman Air with both carriers connecting passengers to each other but would have its own independent management, the sources said on the condition of anonymity because the details are private.

Proposals are to be submitted by Nov. 11, one of the sources said.

The new airline would use regional jets for domestic flights and potentially later to other cities in the region where there is not enough demand to fill the larger single aisle jets used by other airlines in Oman.

FASTFACT

Oman Air operates flights to four airports in the country, including the main Muscat International.

Oman Aviation Group and its unit Oman Air did not respond to separate emailed requests for comment.

Oman Air operates flights to four airports in the country, including the main Muscat International, according to its website.

The airline uses 166-seat Boeing 737 jets and 71-seat Embraer E175 aircraft on domestic and regional flights.

Both aircraft types are too costly to consistently operate domestic routes at a profit, according to industry sources.

Oman has been restructuring its aviation sector in recent years. Oman Aviation Group was formed in 2018 and includes Oman Air, Oman Airports and Oman Aviation Services.

A budget, second airline, Salam Air, was launched in 2017. It is owned by Omani government pension funds and the Muscat municipality.

Last week, Eithad and Air Arabia said they were jointly setting up a low cost carrier in Abu Dhabi.