No Power Equipment Imports, China May Use it As "Trojan Horse": Minister

Marco Green
July 5, 2020

Amid India-China border tension, power minister RK Singh on Friday said that India needed to bring tariff barriers for imported power equipment, as it posed security threats to the power system in the country.

During a virtual press conference with state counterparts, he also asserted that the equipment import from China and Pakistan would not be permitted especially on the basis of inspection.

The Union minister had said that countries who are adversaries, or potential adversaries will be identified as "prior reference countries", and government permission will be required before importing any equipment from there. "We manufacture everything here", he said".

India's imports from China's power industry totalled 210 billion Indian rupees ($2.81 billion) in 2018/19, Singh said, adding that he had asked the country's domestic industry to check which imported products are available from local manufacturers. "Power is a very sensitive and strategic sector for any country", he had said.

The government on Monday banned 59, mostly Chinese, mobile apps including Bytedance's TikTok and Tencent's WeChat in its strongest move yet targeting China in the online space.

India imported power equipment worth Rs 71,000 crore in FY19, and about Rs 21,000 crore worth equipment alone was imported from China. It is also one of the top-10 imported items from China. About 9,570 MW of under-construction power plants - all from the private sector - have contracted with Chinese companies for supplying boilers, turbines and generators, according to official estimates figures.

On Wednesday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had said that India will not allow Chinese companies to participate in highway projects and that the government will ensure that Chinese investors are not entertained in various sectors like Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Shares of state-run power plant equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, which have lost almost a sixth of their value this year, rose 5.3% to 38.65 rupees in late afternoon trade on Friday. Other state-run power projects where Chinese equipment have been installed are DVC's 600 MW Raghunathpur plant in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu's 600 MW Mettur project and the 600 MW Kalisindh plant in Rajasthan.

Welcoming the move, the Indian Electrical Equipment Manufacturers' Association (IEEMA) said the decision addressed its long-standing demand and would help in utilising the country's "30-40 per cent excess manufacturing capacity".

The Indian Express is now on Telegram.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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