Chinese firms to lose India business in Railways, telecom
As tensions run high after the violent clash in Ladakh that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, a first set of actions have been initiated against Chinese businesses in the country.
A Chinese engineering major is set to lose a significant contract with the Indian Railways, and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has conveyed to state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) not to use Chinese-made equipment in its upgradation, top sources in both sectors said on Thursday.
“DoT has conveyed to BSNL not to use Chinese-made equipment in the upgradation of its 4G facilities,” a source in the government said. “The entire tender will be reworked now,” the source said.
DoT, this official said, was “actively considering” telling private mobile service providers to “reduce their dependence on China-made equipment”. “In the current situation, the safety and security of networks built with Chinese equipment will be under scrutiny. The ownership patterns of Huawei and ZTE could become a sticking point in India’s network upgradation plans,” the source said.
Likewise, decks are being cleared to terminate the contract of the Chinese signalling behemoth China Railway Signal and Communication (CRSC) Corp., in the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor. CRSC had won the contract in 2016 to install signalling systems in over 400 km of railway lines. This is the only Chinese presence in the mega project, which is now keen to engage Indian players, officials said.
The around Rs-500 crore contract involves designing, supplying, constructing, testing and commissioning signalling, telecommunications and associated works for two lines of 413 km in the New Bhaupur-Mughalsarai section in Uttar Pradesh.
Sources said that the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation Limited has already applied to the World Bank, which is the funding agency, to initiate the process. It is learnt that DFCCIL made up its mind to show the Chinese firm the door after being continuously dissatisfied with the progress of work, and other issues. Officials did not attribute the impending decision to the latest tensions between the two countries.
When contacted, Anurag Sachan, Managing Director of DFCCIL, told The Indian Express:”I won’t be able to comment on our internal decision before it is officially formalised. But we would be happy to engage Indian players and talents wherever possible.”