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US, India begin purging Chinese infiltration into not just territory, but economy too | India News – Times of India


WASHINGTON: China’s intransigence in refusing to fully withdraw from its border incursions into India is bringing New Delhi ever closer to Washington, with US and India appearing to coordinate strategy to whittle down broader Chinese infiltration into their societies, including into their economies.
Beijing’s recent territorial grab on India’s borders and its dragging of feet despite commitments to withdraw to pre-incursion positions featured prominently in telephonic talks between US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on Thursday. The conversation came on the heels of the Trump’s administration purge of Chinese technology and its access to economic opportunities in US, which Washington sees as predatory and dangerous to its national security. India is doing the same.
The two officials discussed “ongoing bilateral and multilateral cooperation on issues of international concern, including efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, support the peace process in Afghanistan, and address recent destabilizing actions in the region,” the state department said, the last item evidently referring to China’s predatory territorial grab in the region.
“Secretary Pompeo and minister Jaishankar reiterated the strength of the United States-India relationship to advance peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe. Both leaders agreed to continue close cooperation on a full range of regional and international issues and look forward to Quadrilateral consultations and the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year,” spokesperson Cale Brown said.
Beyond the anodyne readout, it is becoming clear that US-India response is going beyond geo-political alignments and military maneuvers. In steps that mirrors India’s own actions against Chinese apps and its red-flagging of Chinese investment in and access to critical infrastructure, President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order banning “transactions” with the Chinese owners of the TikTok and WeChat apps starting September 20.
In fact, the Trump administration is expanding its China purge into what it is calling a ‘Clean Network’ program involving 30 countries, aimed at restricting international expansion of Chinese apps, cloud services and undersea cable networks across the globe. Washington says China’s access to US consumer information and its infrastructure constitutes a threat to its national security.
While the Trump ban on TikTok’s owner, Beijing-based Bytedance, was on the cards, the action against WeChat jolted US markets on Friday considering the deep inroads WeChat’s owner Tencent Holdings has made into the US economy and its society.
These include investments in companies such as Tesla and Snap Inc, ties to companies such as Apple and Google which features Tencent owned apps, and its lead position in the gaming industry with ownership stakes in a number of US videogame companies such asRiot Games, which makes “League of Legends,” Epic Games, which makes “Fortnite,” and Activision, which makes “World of Warcraft,” all hugely popular games in US.
Tencent also has streaming deals in place with the NBA, the NFL and Major League Baseball worth hundreds of millions of dollars. At least 20 of the 100 top-grossing apps on Google Play store and 10 of the 100 top grossing apps on Apple’s App Store are of China-origin.
But just as the Modi government has turned the screws on the Indian cricket board to forgo Chinese sponsorship (persuading BCCI to delink from Vivo for the forthcoming IPL season), Trump too appears willing to antagonize US sports leagues and the army of American developers and gamers, whose payment for Tencent linked videogames could technically be deemed illegal under the executive order. There is also the threat of China retaliating against the likes of Microsoft, Apple, and Google, which have long kissed up again the Chinese market.
Despite this, Google separately announced it has deleted more than 2,500 YouTube channels tied to China as part of its effort to weed out disinformation on the video-sharing platform. And Microsoft is doing Washington’s bidding to acquire TikTok, including its entire India operations.
The two countries are also going beyond the IT sector to push back against China in other infrastructure areas, including construction and supply chain logistics in areas such as pharma, although in some cases Washington is working at cross-purposes to its stated objective of countering China. For instance, the Trump administration’s move to ensure federal contracts go not to H1B visa linked companies hurts India more than it does affects China.

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