New Delhi: India on Wednesday managed to secure the release of two Indian traders trapped in China. But the trade turned diplomatic row rattled the foreign offices of both countries.
External affairs minister SM Krishna said the incident shouldn’t be blown out of proportion, even so the ministry told Indian traders to stay away from the town of Yiwu.
Krishna at a Press Conference in New Delhi said, “I am very happy with the outcome. Traders have been released and they are on their way to Shanghai under consular officers security. We have friendly relation with China. Let’s not blow this incident out of proportion. Both the traders will take care of themselves in the civil-suit case in China.”
Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan said, “We are coordinating. We are working hard to solve the issue. Everything will be settled through Chinese law.”
Indian traders had been illegally detained and reportedly tortured by Chinese suppliers for non-payment of dues.
Trader Deepak Raheja speaking over the phone with CNN-IBN said, “We are poor people. We will fight the case but in a safe place. We haven’t had food, water for days now. If I am not taken to Shanghai within 24 hours, I will commit suicide.”
A strongly worded Indian advisory warned Indian traders to stay away from Yiwu – saying there was no guarantee of legal remedies there.
In response, the Shanghai authorities launched criminal proceedings against the Chinese suppliers and promised police protection to the Indian traders.
The fact is there’s a dark underside to Yiwu. The US government says it is one of four markets in China dealing in pirated and counterfeit goods.
Two Chinese music websites based here violate international copyrights and Indian diplomats hint at a criminal nexus involving traders, the courts and the police.
The Chinese authorities say the Indians are at fault.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, “China hopes India can treat this case with objectivity and fairness, and actively educate Indian merchants in China to behave according to the Chinese law, behave honestly and operate legitimately.”
The Indians may have erred in not paying their dues but that does not justify their detention or maltreatment. India and China have begun 2012 on an unhappy note.