The Indian government has taken a decision to put import restrictions on ‘power supply systems and networks’ equipment (including products for transmission and distribution of power infrastructure, that the china primarily imports to India). The Ministry of Power announced the government’s decision on July 3. The Ministry of Power said imports from countries that are on ‘prior reference’ list which includes China and Pakistan would need prior permission and would require testing in certified and designated laboratories approved by the ministry.
The Ministry issued an order and said,” All equipment, components, and parts imported for use in power supply systems and networks shall be tested in the country to check for any kind of embedded malware, Trojans, or cyber threat, and for adherence to Indian standards.
Some of the power gear that has been banned by the government can be remotely monitored and operated. Power infrastructure is vulnerable to cyberattacks due to it being supported by IT and AI. Indian electric equipment industry has raised concerns over flooding of China’s power equipment in the Indian market and the threat it poses to the country’s cybersecurity. R K Singh, Union minister of state for power, new and renewable energy said, “The power system is vulnerable to malware attacks, which can shut down our communications, database, and defence systems. That is why all imports need to be inspected and a few countries need to be banned”.
He said, “We cannot tolerate a country that transgresses into our territory. We create jobs in that country when we have the ability to manufacture it (equipment) ourselves. We have decided not to buy from prior-reference countries. Any equipment imported will need permission. And we will not give permission for equipment from China and Pakistan”. He advised states to avoid the import of equipment that have sufficient capacity available.
According to the data collected by the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturing Association (IEEMA), there are only four products out of 58 identified power supply infrastructure equipment that has no domestic capacity available. An alternative technology is available for two of those Products. In FY19, China accounted for nearly 30 per cent of total imports in the electrical equipment segment that amounted to Rs 71,570 crore. India’s electrical equipment market is worth Rs 2.08 trillion in which Rs 1.9 trillion comes from domestic production.