India imposes restrictions on public procurement from China

New Delhi – The Government of India amended the General Financial Rules 2017 to enable the imposition of restrictions on bidders from countries that share a border with India on grounds of defence of India, or matters directly or indirectly related thereto including national security, an official statement said. The Department of Expenditure has, under the said Rules, issued a detailed order on public procurement to strengthen the defence of India and national security, it said.

As per the order, any bidder from such countries with India will be eligible to bid in any procurement whether of goods, services (including consultancy services and non-consultancy services) or works (including turnkey projects) only if the bidder is registered with the Competent Authority. “The Competent Authority for registration will be the Registration Committee constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Political and security clearance from the Ministries of External and Home Affairs respectively will be mandatory”, it said.

The order takes into its ambit public sector banks and financial institutions, autonomous bodies, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and public-private partnership projects receiving financial support from the government or its undertakings, it added.

Observing that State Governments also play a vital role in national security and defence of India, it said, “the Government of India has written to the Chief Secretaries of the State Governments invoking the provisions of Article 257(1) of the Constitution of India for the implementation of this Order in procurement by State Governments and State undertakings, etc.”

Modi’s ‘India First’ angers Xi

For the last few years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been seeking to craft a flexible and dynamic foreign policy for India, which now seems to have run into fierce opposition from an assertive and aggressive China.

For Prime Minister Modi, it is essential now to establish a modicum of domestic consensus on how to deal with China, while embarking on much-needed internal reforms to strengthen India’s overall State capacity.

This would require him to pursue a visionary foreign policy vision and magnanimous domestic politics. The foundations of the Communist Party of China are inherently authoritarian. The Chinese expressions of civilisational pride go hand in hand with unchecked territorial revisionism, as an increasingly vocal Xi is trying to ‘recapture’ imperial China’s possessions harking back to the ever-changing past.

The cocktail of aggressive nationalism and Han exceptionalism is rendered more potent by the rise of India that Communist elites in Beijing have long perceived as their inferior.