Angry protests erupted across India today as the funerals of some of the 20 soldiers clubbed to death and mutilated by Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops got under way. And as portraits of Chinese leader Xi Jinping were set alight and burned, hardline nationalist groups with ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stepped up calls for a boycott of the Chinese goods and the cancellation of contracts with Chinese firms.
Food and Consumer Affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said: “In the current situation, the China issue should not be taken lightly.
“In many cases, there may be Chinese money invested, but I think the regular things we buy from the market, one should certainly make sure that we avoid Chinese products.”
Junior federal Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale, a member BJP ally the Republican Party of India, also called on restaurants serving Chinese meals to revise their menus.
He said: “I appeal to people to boycott Chinese food.”
Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, who also has links to the BJP, has launched a public campaign to boycott Chinese products and investment by Chinese companies in India.
And a confederation of traders in India has launched a national movement to boycott Chinese products and promote Indian goods.
China’s Oppo cancelled the live online launch of its flagship smartphone in India in response to the growing anger.
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Residents in the northern city of Kanpur held a mock funeral of Mr Xi and burned his portrait, shouting anti-China slogans.
In Cuttack in eastern India, an effigy of Mr Xi and a Chinese flag were burned.
In the western Indian city of Surat, a group of people threw a Chinese-made television on the ground and stamped on it in protest.
Tensions on India’s remote Himalayan border with China remain sky high after this weeks bloody hand-to-hand fighting and both sides are setting up new strategic military positions in the disputed territory.
India claims its men were bludgeoned to death with nail-studded bamboo clubs on Monday night before their mutilated corpses were tossed into a freezing river at the foot of the Galwan Valley.
Satellite images show both sides have since moved extra troops into the valley and are setting up significant positions.
Indian troops are about 500 metres back from the Line of Actual Control – the de facto border created in the valley after India’s defeat to China in a brief 1962 war.
China’s main position is just under two miles back but PLA troops have set up a small outpost on the LAC.
Tension with China, whose economy is five times bigger than India’s and which spends three times as much money on its military, has become Modi’s most serious foreign policy challenge since he took power in 2014.
A strident nationalist, Mr Modi was elected to a second five-year term in May 2019 following a campaign focused on national security after spiralling tensions with Pakistan, on India’s western border.
He is under pressure from the opposition and media to respond strongly to China.