Sajjan Jindal, Chairman, JSW Group, in a strong-worded statement has said that Indian businesses cannot keep making money by buying cheaper Chinese raw materials while soldiers get killed on the border. He said Indian businesses' complacency had led to their dependency on cheaper Chinese imports rather than developing them locally. "A lot of my friends and co-industrialists are upset as their business with China is important to maintain healthy margins and continuity. But this situation has come because of our complacency in blindly accepting cheaper imports from China rather than developing our own domestic vendors," he said.
He said the current India-China border issue was an opportunity for Indians to come together and push for a stronger "Atma Nirbhar Bharat". "Let us support our domestic producers in achieving quality and scale. We have to show loyalty to our own products," he added.
Jindal also added India's business community had to support armed forces and the government to stand against the Chinese aggregation.
He exhorted the Indian business community to "support our domestic producers in achieving quality and scale".
Last week, JSW Group Parth Jindal, Managing Director of JSW Cement and the son of Group Chairman Sajjan Jindal, said the company had decided to cut imports from China to zero in the next two years from the current imports worth $400 million. "The JSW Group have a net import of $400 million from China annually and we pledge to bring this down to zero in the next 24 months." He said that the unprovoked attack by the Chinese on Indian soil was a huge "wake-up call and a clarion call for action".
Recently, many Indian companies have supported the government in taking measured steps to stop dependence on Chinese imports.
Packaged consumer goods firm Hindustan Unilever (HUL) last week said it had begun discussions on possible alternatives to raw materials the company imports from China in its bid to help the country become self-reliant.
Mahindra & Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra also said this was time for the industry to rise above the occasion. On a reply to China's Global Times Editor Hu Xijin's comments that even if Chinese wanted to boycott Indian products, they couldn't as they did not find many Indian goods, Mahindra said: "I suspect this comment might well be the most effective & motivating rallying cry that India Inc. has ever received. Thank you for the provocation. We will rise to the occasion..."
India's trade with mainland China and Hong Kong declined by over 7 per cent to $109.76 billion in FY20, its steepest fall since FY13. It is a sharp reversal from the 3.2 per cent growth in trade in 2018-19 and the more robust 22 per cent jump in FY18, signalling the prevailing anti-China sentiment in the country.