Apple is reportedly “battling to free stuck shipments” at the Indian port of Chennai, as India increases scrutiny of imports from China, following a deadly border clash between the two nations.
Reuters reports customs officials have held back over 250 shipments of smartphones and electronic parts sourced from China. This has led to disruptions at plants operated by Apple device assembly partner Foxconn. As workers are left without anything to do.
While some of the shipments are being slowly cleared, says the report, many Foxconn workers are simply staying in their dormitories, due to the lack of work.
The additional import checks follow deadly clashes between Chinese and Indian military forces at the much-disputed Himalayan border in June, which led to boycotts and demonstrations.
The BBC reported on last month’s border clash which apparently led to the issues at the port.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese forces in a disputed Himalayan border area, Indian officials say.
The incident follows rising tensions, and is the first deadly clash in the border area in at least 45 years. The Indian army initially said three of its soldiers had been killed, adding that both sides suffered casualties. But later on Tuesday, officials said a number of critically injured soldiers had died of their wounds.
India’s external affairs ministry accused China of breaking an agreement struck the previous week to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says violence between two armies high up in the Himalayas is very serious, and pressure will grow on the two nuclear powers not to allow a slide into full-scale conflict.
The shipping delays are causing concern that businesses that have already been impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis will be disrupted further. This has led to U.S.-India lobby groups and local industry bodies urging the Indian government to intervene. Meanwhile, Indian government officials have said the additional clearance measure for Chinese shipments would be temporary.