How Chinese companies have established themselves as equipment suppliers in India’s power sector

NEW DELHI: With the recent border skirmishes with China damaging ties, it comes as no surprise that the Central Government has now effectively banned Chinese equipment for use in the strategically crucial power sector.

Chinese state-run power major Dongfang Electric Corporation has alone won SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) contracts for more than 20 cities across the country. Other Chinese companies who have won SCADA contracts include Shenzhen SDG Information Company, ZTT and Tongguan Group. They have even won contracts from the state-run PowerGrid Corporation.

The SCADA contracts form a part of the T&D systems. These Power Transmission and Distribution (T&D) systems are the backbones of every power distribution system. Having Chinese companies control these systems can be a major security risk which the Government now does not want to take.

To ensure this does not happen, the Indian government has barred all power distributors from importing power equipment from China w.e.f July 3. In fact, all imported power T&D systems will now go under an investigation for malware at designated laboratories.

Though some say that the Government has acted a little late, overall analysts are seeing this as an acknowledgement of expected vulnerabilities with Chinese equipment. In fact, the IEEMA had written to the National Security Advisor way back in 2017 with the vulnerabilities that arose out of using Chinese equipment. With the aggression in Ladakh is being seen as an instigation, the Modi administration has now effectively ‘woken up’ from its sleep.

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