An agreement signed between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Oppo India, the local arm of Chinese electronics major Oppo has triggered a controversy, with political leaders and netizens questioning the Indian space agency over the deal, as it was signed despite the Chinese aggression in eastern Ladakh and the subsequent ban on Chinese apps by the Union government.

“Hello China. Lots of Love. ISRO,” Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted. “It amazes me to no end that on one hand we as a nation are trying to fend them off the border, reduce their exposure to Indian markets and yet important arms of India and national security continue to be oblivious to the threat,” the Shiv Sena leader added.

Congress spokesperson Dr Shama Mohamed described the development as ‘shocking.’ She tweeted: “On the one hand, China is illegally annexing Indian territory & on the other, ISRO ties up with Chinese mobile manufacturer Oppo for tech R&D!”

Various other netizens used phrases such as ‘shocking,’ ‘blunder’ etc. for the ISRO-Oppo India pact, while others wondered why people should boycott Chinese apps when no less than ISRO itself is signing a deal with a company from that country.

While ISRO is yet to issue a statement on the agreement, Oppo India, on Friday, announced the deal in a Twitter post. “Supporting the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Oppo India collaborates with @isro to provide them with industry-leading R&D capabilities. Aiming to build a convenient and user-friendly with NavIC application, together, we embark on a new journey to create a better future,” it tweeted.

Under the pact, the two sides will integrate the NavIC messaging service with the mobile handset platform, keeping in mind in Indian users, to build rapid, ready-to-use, end-to-end application-specific solutions.

NavIC stands for ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation’ and is an independent satellite-based positioning system for critical national applications. It was previously known as ‘Indian Reginal Navigation Satellite System’ (IRNSS). Its primary objective is to provide reliable position, navigation and timing services, with ‘fairly good’ accuracy to the user.