Mumbai: The Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra has paused three projects signed with Chinese companies days after the India-China clash at Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
The projects, with proposed investments worth over Rs 5,000 crore, were finalised at the recent “Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0” investor meet held just before the border fight.
“Yes, the decision was taken after consulting the centre. We have put the projects on hold and are waiting for further directives from the centre,” Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai told NDTV.
The conference was held last Monday via video conferencing and it was attended by Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong. It was an attempt to kick-start the economy in Maharashtra. A dozen MoUs were signed with countries like China, South Korea, Singapore and the US.
The same day, a deadly brawl erupted between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty. The incident led to nationwide calls for boycotting Chinese goods and protests.
Of the 12 MoUs agreed upon in the Maharashtra investors’ event, three were with China – a project with Hengli engineering worth Rs 250 crore, one with Great Wall Motors worth Rs 3,770 crore and a project with PMI electro mobility worth Rs 1,000 crore.
At the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “India wants peace but that doesn’t mean we are weak. China’s nature is betrayal. India is Mazboot (strong) not Majboor (helpless).”
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said at the meeting that all previous trade agreements must be reviewed “to ensure that Chinese products are not used.”
Many states are reviewing contracts with Chinese companies after the Ladakh clash.
“There is a sentiment against China currently. So the centre should come out with a national policy on what needs to be done about deals with China. Maharashtra government has always put forth its views first about nationalism. Even Uddhav Thackeray had made his views on nationalism clear during the teleconference with the PM,” said Sanjay Raut, a senior leader of the Chief Minister’s Shiv Sena.