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BCCI Turnaround

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It is good that the BCCI has decided to delink this year’s IPL from sponsor Vivo, a Chinese company. It is a quick response to adverse public reaction after it had, earlier, decided to retain the sponsor. This will allow people to watch the cricket without guilt. There is strong public condemnation of China and all those associated with it following the Galwan incident. The subsequent actions taken by government and others on the economic front, such as banning of apps and termination of various business agreements, have definitely had an impact on China. Even more because other countries have also felt encouraged to stand up to that country’s bullying tactics. Under such circumstances, it would have been a great betrayal if India’s iconic IPL should have continued with Vivo just for the sake of its money.

The decision is, presently, for this year, which is also pragmatic. It earns a temporary reprieve for the agreement till such time relations improve between the two countries. In fact, it may be argued that Vivo will use whatever clout it has to nudge its government in the right direction.

It is a fact that India, too, will suffer economically owing to the boycott of Chinese goods, as it also is deeply vested in the relationship, but it has the consolation that, in many ways, it will be compensated by other countries feeling equally aggrieved by China’s belligerence. China does not have that luxury because all it has is ‘allies’ that need dollars to stay on its side. Its major trading partners are exactly those that are joining forces against it. If the situation prolongs further, the emerging alliance will solidify and might even take a formal shape.

By all appearances, China is not backing down, yet. This is evident from its refusal to withdraw from aggressive positions on the LAC with India and its attempt to raise the Kashmir issue, unsuccessfully, in the Security Council. It is banking on a worsening COVID-19 situation and the possible defeat of President Trump in the coming US election. It will take time for the next US administration to pick up the engagement with India, giving China ample time to further its cause. However, as seen in the IPL case, India’s stand is bolstered by strong public opinion, which will, ironically, help the BJP internally. There are tough times ahead and one year may prove too short a while for the BCCI to revive its contract with its Chinese friend!