India’s state-owned oil companies have barred Chinese tankers from shipping Indian crude and petroleum product, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Thursday.
China-owned vessels are blocked from bidding on tenders to charter tankers importing crude oil to India. They are also barred from exporting petroleum products, such as diesel, out of India, people familiar with the matter told the SCMP. Chinese tankers are barred “even if the vessels are registered under third-country flags,” according to the Times of India.
India’s state-owned oil companies “already have a first-right-of-refusal clause in favor of Indian flag vessels in their global tenders. Under this clause, Indian tankers can be given contracts if they match the winning bid of foreign vessels,” the newspaper reported. Now, any China-linked vessels will be eliminated from the bidding process.
“For limited tenders, the companies will not invite bids from Chinese shipping entities previously registered with them,” the report stated.
India’s major state-run oil companies also plan to ask oil traders and suppliers not to send shipments to India using Chinese vessels, the SCMP sources said.
On July 23, India’s finance ministry barred companies from nations sharing a land border with India from bidding for Indian government contracts for goods and services until they register with the state industry department. Observers believe the move was aimed at curbing trade with China, India’s neighbor and, traditionally, one of its top trading partners.
Economic relations between India and China, two of the largest economies in Asia, have deteriorated in recent months amid souring diplomatic relations over an ongoing Himalayan border dispute. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has increasingly cut economic ties with China in support of his “Self-Reliant India” initiative, which he launched in April to help India become less dependent on China for trade and manufacturing.