New Delhi: India doesn’t want acrimony with its neighbours but will not accept an invasion on its borders, RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi said Monday, while stressing on the fact that ‘boycotting Chinese’ goods is a natural reaction of Indians that will only increase in the coming days.
Joshi was speaking to Prafulla Ketkar, the editor of Organiser, at Chintan, an India Foundation platform.
With the opposition criticising the Narendra Modi government over its handling of the Indo-China crisis that resulted in the loss of 20 Indian soldiers, Joshi said whatever decision or initiative the government takes will be firmly backed by society.
“Today, it has started with that we will not buy this product, that we will not buy a Chinese product. But this has happened naturally, not due to a mass movement,” he said. “Today, a common man walking on the streets asks and refuses to buy the product if it’s Chinese. Now, China has to think about what they should do.”
Joshi said this also puts the onus on the government to put in place a system that encourages self-reliance. “In the beginning, it may appear negative that we are boycotting a product of another country but later on if the needs of the society will not get fulfilled then boycott won’t help, so it is also important to put in place a system wherein such needs are fulfilled within the country itself,” he added.
Joshi’s comments came on the day the Modi government banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, on the grounds that they were prejudicial to national security. They also
assume significance as the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal demanding identification of country of origin for all products sold in India via any channel, including the offline mode.
In its letter dated 29 June, the CAIT also asked the Union government to ensure that all products should also provide details of any value addition made to the product. RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch has also been pushing for swadeshi goods.
Time to fulfil vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat
Joshi said the current situation is a good opportunity for India to fulfil its vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat. “But this is an opportunity and not only for India but the entire world and it is a good message for them that they should fulfil the needs of their country on their own. They should neither exploit anyone nor be dependent on others,” he said.
The RSS leader said a “Swadeshi feeling” is developing within Indians and should be motivated further. “This feeling is developing slowly. If the country will become self-reliant, if our needs will be fulfilled here and we will take pride in our own good, then even if the quality is not up to the mark we will still accept it,” he argued.
“Such factors won’t have any impact then. This feeling is developing slowly but there is a need to give it a push. Because generally, everything comes to a halt on the issue of quality. But if the society accepts that quality may not be up to mark but it is our own then Atmanirbhar Bharat can flourish. The dream of our mahapurush to see India stand on its own feet will be fulfilled.”
But Joshi also had a word of caution. “We will never grow merely by singing the virtues of others. We will also not grow by merely imitating others,” he said. “We have the talent and whatever cooperation is required if that is provided, then I think Atmanirbhar will not merely remain a slogan but we will see it being fulfilled. But whatever planning is required for it should be in place, that’s my expectation”.
When asked if boycotting products of a nation will augur well for India, Joshi said this is not limited to India but is being discussed across the world. The RSS leader said the call for self-reliance given by PM Modi will only help the country realise its aspirations.
“See, this is natural. When such a big discussion is going on all over the world about one country (China), it will also run in India,” he said. “The normal person is saying that we will not buy Chinese products. We will not cooperate with it. So I think this is a natural manifestation which is coming out against an undisclosed enemy.”
On national security
On the issue of national security, Joshi said it is a matter for defence experts and strategists to analyse. “But how can any country accept the invasion of its borders? No country wants tension with its border country, but it needs to be considered from both sides,” he said.
Joshi further said a solution has to be arrived upon by the Indian defence forces, the defence minister and the Prime Minister. “All of them together need to consider this. How will India’s security be protected from this crisis, because it is not a matter of common people, but a matter of government and army”.
Expressing complete confidence in the defence forces, Joshi said: “As far as ordinary people are concerned, we have complete confidence that the strength of our army is good. And so keeping this capability in mind, the government should make its own policy and the plan to be made about it.”
He added, “I can say this much with confidence that at this time whatever initiative or stand the government will take, the society will stand behind the government.”
Joshi also said the RSS worked tirelessly to provide relief to migrant workers walking back home, and said he was confident that many of the workers who went back to their homes will be back once work resumes.