The impact of Sino-India border stand-off in Sikkim is being felt in faraway Gujarat, where the BJP government signing an MoU with a Chinese automobile firm has invited the charge of “betrayal” from opposition Congress. The Gujarat government yesterday signed an MoU with China’s SAIC Motor Corp for setting up a passenger car manufacturing facility at Halol in the Panchmahals district with an investment of Rs 2,000 crore. Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia slammed the state government for signing the agreement, saying the ruling BJP had “betrayed” the people of the country by this act. However, the BJP government defended its action, saying India has not yet snapped its ties with the neighbouring country. The Congress-BJP war of words came amid the continuing stand-off along the India-China border. “On one hand, the BJP asks people to show patriotism by boycotting Chinese goods. On the other, the BJP government is inviting a Chinese firm to Gujarat. This is nothing but betrayal with the countrymen. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must clarify his stand on this,” said Modhwadia.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi accused the BJP of having “double standards” on patriotism. “China’s stand (on India-related issues) has always remained negative. Be it giving protection to terrorists (like Masood Azhar) or transgressing our territory. Even then, this BJP government is rolling out the red carpet for Chinese firms. Is this BJP’s patriotism? This kind of double standards will eventually harm the country,” he said.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani defended his government’s decision. “We share a free trade policy with all countries. Even today, the Indian government has not severed relations with China. We can stop Chinese firms (from coming to India) only when we cut off all ties,” Rupani told reporters here when asked to about the controversy.
“Since the bilateral relations are still intact, it is their (Chinese firms’) right to come here to do business. Thus, our doors are open for them, too,” said Rupani.