The power ministry has made prior permission mandatory to import electricity equipment – used in the supply network – from prior reference countries like China and Pakistan.
The decision was taken by the ministry amid a stand-off with China at the border.
For India, China and Pakistan are prior reference countries with whom it shares a land border.
Earlier in the day, Power Minister R K Singh told his state counterparts in a virtual conference that India will not give permission for import of power equipment from prior reference countries.
The recent order of the ministry is a step in that direction to discourage imports from reference countries, mainly China.
He has also asked states not to order equipment for their Discoms from Chinese companies.
Besides, the ministry has made it mandatory to test all imported equipment to be used in power supply system to eliminate possibilities of cyber-attacks through malware / Trojans.
In an office order issued on July 2, the ministry said, “Any import of equipment or components or parts from “prior reference” countries as specified or by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or the directions of these ‘prior reference’ countries will require prior permission of the Government of India.”
According to the order, all equipment, components, and parts imported for use in the power supply system and network will be tested in the country to check for any kind of embedded malware/trojans/cyber threat and for adherence to Indian standards.
All such testings will be done in certified laboratories that will be designated by the Ministry of Power, it noted.
“Where the equipment or components/parts are imported from ‘prior reference’ countries, with special permission, the protocol for testing in certified and designated laboratories shall be approved by the Ministry of Power,” it added.
This order will apply to any item imported for end-use or to be used as a component, or as a part in manufacturing, assembling of any equipment or to be used in power supply system or any activity directly or indirectly related to the power supply system, the ministry said.
The power supply system is a sensitive and critical infrastructure that supports not only our national defence, vital emergency services, including health, disaster response, critical national infrastructure such as classified data & communication services, defence installations, manufacturing establishments, logistics services, but also the entire economy and the day-to-day life of the citizens, the ministry noted.
The ministry is of the view that any danger or threat to the power supply system can have catastrophic effects and has the potential to cripple the entire country. Therefore, the power sector is a strategic and critical sector.
The vulnerabilities in the power supply system and network mainly arise out of the possibilities of cyberattacks through malware / Trojans etc embedded in imported equipment, the ministry stated.
It has taken this decision to protect the security, integrity and reliability of the strategically important and critical power supply system and network in the country.