India will not allow the import of power supply equipment from China without permission from the government, Union Minister RK Singh said today amid the standoff with China at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, adding that Beijing may use it as a “Trojan horse” that can be potentially used to trigger a power grid shutdown in the country.
According to an order by the Union Power Ministry, Indian companies will need government permission to import power supply equipment and components from China, which the government will inspect to assess cyber threat risks.
“We manufacture everything here. India imported Rs 71,000 crore worth power equipment including Rs 21,000 crore from China,” Mr Singh said in the state energy ministers conference chaired by him this morning in his opening remarks.
He said: “This (huge import of power equipment) is something we cannot tolerate that a country will transgress into our territory….we will not take anything from China and Pakistan.”
“We will not give permission for import from Prior Reference countries. We are affected. There could be malware or Trojan horse in those (imports from China) which they can activate remotely (to cripple our power systems),” the Union Minister added.
The minister further said that it is a pity that tower elements, conductors, transformers and parts of meters are imported, which are manufactured and available in India.”Your discoms order equipment from Chinese companies. We request you not to order from Chinese companies.” He stressed that under the Atamnirbhar Bharat mission, India will not import any equipment from China which is available here and will go for inspection of imported equipment.
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).
India has in the recent days taken steps to impose stringent quality control measures and higher tariffs on goods from China as it looks to boost domestic manufacturing to cut reliance on imports.
On Monday night, the government banned 59, mostly Chinese, mobile apps including Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat, citing its need to protect India’s “sovereignty and integrity.”
After weeks of simmering tension at the Line of Actual Control or the de-facto border with China, 20 soldiers including a Colonel were killed in action in the June 15 brawl with Chinese troops at the Galwan river valley. Army sources say the Chinese suffered 45 casualties.