India Seeks to Halt $2.8 Billion of Power Gear Import From China
(Bloomberg) -- India will stop power equipment imports from China, power minister Raj Kumar Singh said, amid simmering border tensions between the two neighbors.
The South Asian nation has the capability to manufacture all kinds of electricity equipment, Singh said at a meeting with energy officials of states, encouraging them to promote local procurement. China accounted for 210 billion rupees ($2.8 billion) of the total 710 billion rupees of equipment for non-renewable power projects imported in the year ended March 2019, according to Singh. Shares of state-run Bharat Heavy ELectricals Ltd., the country’s largest power-equipment maker, surged as much as 5.3% after Singh’s comments.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is asking companies to look for Indian suppliers to spur economic recovery and create jobs after restrictions to contain the coronavirus halted businesses and disrupted global supply chains. The border tensions with China, India’s biggest source of imports, have accelerated those efforts.
“You have a country which transgresses into our territory, which kills our soldiers and yet we create jobs in that country and not in our country,” Singh said, in reference to deadly border skirmishes between the two countries last month. “This can’t happen.”
To check imports of renewable power equipment, the country plans tariff barriers instead of a complete ban on any country, Singh said. China accounts for about 80% of India’s solar module supplies.
Cyber threats are another reason why the country is choosing its suppliers carefully.
“Imports from other countries will be inspected for malware.” Singh said. “Power systems are sensitive systems and they’re vulnerable to cyber attacks.”
In October, a malware struck one of India’s nuclear power plants, infecting a computer network used for administrative functions, according to its operator Nuclear Power Corp. of India. A few months later the country introduced draft guidelines for operating power grids, asking operators to adopt cyber security measures.
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