RSS affiliates VHP and Swadeshi Jagran Manch see the strained relations with China as the right moment to firmly reject all Chinese goods and free the country’s economy from the clutches of the neighbouring country. While the two organisations have been speaking out against China on the Covid-19 pandemic, they have become more vociferous after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese forces at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.

“China is the most treacherous nation in the world. It has a history of never being satiated be it economic gains or geographical expansion. Its national animal is the dragon, which is always hungry for more. It cannot be dealt with peacefully,” VHP leader Surendra Jain told ET. He cited the recent example of China supplying faulty PPE kits to India and emphasised that VHP had begun a campaign against Chinese products some months back by asking people not to use its apps.

VHP has planned a door to door campaign to boycott Chinese goods to break the dragon’s economic backbone. Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has urged the government to check import of Chinese products, encourage manufacture of these goods at home, make the reciprocity clause and anti-dumping laws more stringent, and impose higher non-tariff barriers and more standards norms.

“This government has taken several steps in this direction in the last two years,” SJM co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan told ET. However, he feels more needs to be done. “India has only imposed 350 non-tariff barriers on China while US has imposed 6,500,” he said. Asked about Paytm, which is widely used across the country since November 2016 when demonetisation was imposed, both VHP and SJM said people should stop using it. “We had opposed Paytm then and said it should not be allowed,” Mahajan said. Jain said VHP has been in touch with organisations like FICCI to urge companies to make products here to replace Chinese goods.

A big challenge is the deep penetration of Chinese products in the country with many people not even being aware of their origin. “Many Indians do not even know that some of the products they are using are Chinese, be it chemicals, electronic goods, telecom or project goods,” Mahajan said. Chinese apps also take away data from users, which is a matter of grave concern. This includes apps like Tik Tok. “We have to be very cautious. China does not engage only in business. Everything about them is related to their government and People’s Liberation Army. Every Chinese phone or app has face recognition, which scans a person’s iris,” Mahajan said.

The RSS affiliates have welcomed the ouster of Chinese firms from projects in BSNL, Indian Railways and Delhi-Meerut rapid transport, among others. Chinese companies are involved in several infrastructure projects, including those in the pipeline. “We should build our own economy,” Mahajan said, insisting that the neighbouring country should be kept out.