Transport Minister: India to Ban Chinese Companies from Highway Projects

Road construction workers build a toll plaza on a highway in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, May 16, 2020. India's lockdown, imposed March 25, is set to at least partially end May 18. Some restrictions on manufacturing, agriculture and self-employment were lifted May 4 to ease the …
AP Photo/Manish Swarup

India will block Chinese companies from participating in the construction of highway projects in India, including through joint ventures, India’s Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday, India’s WION news outlet reported.

Gadkari said his ministry will soon release a formal policy “banning Chinese firms and relaxing norms for Indian companies to expand their eligibility criteria for participation in highway projects.”

“We will not give permission to joint ventures that have Chinese partners for road construction. We have taken a firm stand that if they [Chinese companies] come via joint venture in our country, we will not allow it,” Gadkari told the Press Trust of India (PTI) in an interview on Wednesday.

“Even if we have to go for foreign joint venture in the areas of technology, consultancy, or design, we will not allow Chinese,” the minister insisted.

“For upgrading of technology, research, consultancy, and other works, we will encourage foreign investment and joint ventures in MSMEs [Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises] but in [the] case of Chinese we will not entertain them,” he said.

Following a Chinese army attack on Indian border troops two weeks ago in the Himalayas, a pre-existing grassroots movement to “Boycott China” has gained considerable traction among Indian citizens in recent days. The movement has been bolstered by government support, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration announcing an official ban of 59 Chinese-developed apps in India on Monday.

India’s Department of Telecommunications is said to be preparing an additional list of Chinese websites that could be barred in India in the future, India’s Economic Times reported on Wednesday, citing “people familiar with the developments.”

Reports last week indicate that Indian customs authorities have been holding up imports coming from China as part of India’s China boycott. In his interview on Wednesday, Minister Gadkari supported the halting of Chinese consignments to India.

“It is a good step. The imports from China will be discouraged and the country will take large strides towards self-reliance,” Gadkari said, adding that he is among the strongest proponents of Prime Minister Modi’s new “Self-Reliant India” initiative encouraging Indian economic independence, especially from China.

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