11:57 GMT27 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India imports around 90 percent of its needs of plastic toys from China. The initiative to curb Chinese imports comes at a time when New Delhi and Beijing are accusing each other of disturbing the years-old peace and tranquillity at the border by various means.

    Listing priorities for his countrymen ahead of the festive season (September to December), during which India's annual import of plastic toys is worth around $1 billion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his monthly radio address, asked people to “team up for toys” to promote locally made products. Modi also asked start-up firms to develop games for children to make India self-reliant in every sphere.

    “Such a big business of [global toys market] around $94 billion but, India’s share is very little in this. Now, just spare a thought for a nation which has so much of heritage, tradition, variety, young population, will it feel good to have such little share in the toy market? Not at all”, Modi said while encouraging traditional and mostly unorganised toy makers to grab the opportunity.

    Modi underlined the big trend of computer games in the country and asked entrepreneurs to “make games in India and make games based on India too”, while terming the themes of global games as “mostly extraneous”.

    Invoking the non-cooperation movement call given by Mahatma Gandhi a hundred years ago, Modi urged people that a seed that was sown in the form of the non-cooperation movement, "it is now the responsibility of all of us to transform it into [the] banyan tree of [a] self-reliant India". Mahatma Gandhi, while calling for a boycott of foreign-made (British) goods, had written – “Non-cooperation movement is an effort to make countrymen realise their self-respect and their power”. 

    Clusters to Counter China’s Dominance

    Modi highlighted the clusters across the country like Channapatna in Ramnagaram (Karnataka), Kondaplli in Krishna (Andhra Pradesh), Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Dhubri in Assam, Varanasi in UP, where toys are being manufactured.

    A parliamentary standing committee report in 2019 claimed that about 85-90 percent of the toy market space is commanded by Chinese products. The committee strongly feels that the import of finished toy products from China must be banned, as it has affected 50 percent of the domestic toy industry and traditional skills are being lost with artisans migrating to other vocations.

    “Low-priced Chinese toys are either mass-produced or are rejects from other countries and are diverted to Indian sub-continent/Africa. Further, Chinese toys are toxic in high proportion”, it says.

    Rules of Origin

    India’s Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, on Sunday, expressed the need to strengthen the "Rules of Origin" provisions with 10 ASEAN countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. New Delhi considers that China has been using these routes to increase their presence in India.

    The Modi government has made it mandatory for suppliers to mention the country of origin in a move to push for local products and keep out Chinese manufacturers in the aftermath of deadly border clashes with China’s People’s Liberation Army on 15 June, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

    The government said that all the suppliers interested in selling goods to government departments must register themselves with e-Marketplace, an Amazon-like online procurement platform. The platform allows buyers to filter products based on the country of origin.

    Unreasonable to Link Border Dispute with Normal Ties

    Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong, on 28 August, urged India to delink the boundary question from normal bilateral cooperation.

    "I have noted there are emerging rational voices in India pointing out that such restrictive practices are both unrealistic and harmful to India’s interests, and may eventually lead to a lose-lose situation", Weidong said, while adding that "suppression, self-seclusion and restrictions are not good for development".

    Border Tensions

    Several rounds of talk between India and China have failed to defuse the five-month-long border stand-off, the longest ever, between the two Asian giants. Recent satellite images show that the build-up in the Ladakh region by the two sides is continuing amid calls to return to the status quo in Pangong Tso and the Depsang Valley - the two contested areas. 

    India's Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, in an interview with Rediff.com, said: “This is surely the most serious situation after 1962. In fact, after 45 years, we have had military casualties on this border. The quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the LAC is also unprecedented”.

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    India Withdraws From War Games in Russia Over Row With China, Which is Also Taking Part
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    Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, China, India, toys
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