Earlier this week, the Indian Government banned 59 mobile applications of Chinese origin invoking its powers under the Information Technology Act 2000. The ban, which is seen as part of Bharat’s retaliatory measures against Chinese aggression at the border, has initiated certain serious conversations and debates both in public and private. Some are of the view that the ban doesn’t achieve much since its impact on Chinese economic interests is negligible, and, in any case, is not expected to affect Chinese belligerence at the border. Some have even gone to the extent of contending that should China reciprocate in kind, the already skewed trade imbalance between the two nations which is to the tune of USD 3.3 billion in favour of China, is bound to hurt Indian interests more given that Bharat is not even among China’s top five trading partners. Perhaps, they are right. After all, hard data cannot be wished away and as a still-developing country, Bharat has all the more reasons to take into account these realities before taking a decision.
That said, as someone who is interested in understanding the basket of realistic military and non-military options available at Bharat’s disposal to counter a bellicose sabre-rattling neighbour with imperial ambitions, this author must candidly and unreservedly express his disappointment with the sheer elitist mercantilism that has, dare one say, infected even discussions relating to the territorial integrity of this land. An issue which ought to have been a non-negotiable come hell or highwater, has become negotiable in affluent and influential circles. This tragic new normal must shake the conscience of every reasonable person who understands and appreciates what it is to have a sovereign homeland.