In yet another major decision, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSME, Nitin Gadkari revealed that China would not be allowed to participate in any ventures, projects and assignments for the sectors falling under him. Most importantly, while speaking to PTI, Gadkari said that no Chinese companies will be allowed to take part in highway and road construction projects in India, even if they want to do so by means of a joint venture with Indian companies.
“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 PTI in an interview. He also said that a policy will soon be out which will ban Chinese firms from undertaking road and highways construction in India, either in individual capacity, or through joint ventures. Currently only a few projects which were undertaken much earlier involve some Chinese partners. Further, all existing projects, which have Chinese companies as joint partners, will be subjected to rebidding, the Union Minister informed.
The new policy will also make it tremendously easier for Indian companies to participate in highway construction. “We have taken a decision to relax norms for our companies to ensure that they qualify in bidding in large projects. I have directed the Highways Secretary (Giridhar Aramane) and NHAI Chairman (SS Sandhu) to hold a meeting for relaxing technical and financial norms so that our companies can qualify to work,” the Union Minister said. He further added, “Construction norms are not good so I have asked to change it. We are changing it so that we can encourage Indian companies.”
As for changes in the MSME sector, Nitin Gadkari hinted that just as was the case with roads and highway construction, no Chinese involvement will be henceforth allowed in the sector. He made it explicitly clear that though enhancing the local production capacity was the government’s prime focus, it would also encourage foreign investment. However, Chinese investors would not be allowed. Gadkari said, “For upgradation of technology, research, consultancy and other works, we will encourage foreign investment and joint ventures in MSMEs but in case of Chinese we will not entertain them.”
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s revelations come in the backdrop of India banning 59 Chinese apps as they posed a national security risk to the country. Further, the government is also said to be deliberating upon the future of Chinese telecommunication majors like Huawei and ZTE, and a major decision is expected on that front as well. Discussions are said to have begun following the US designating the two companies as a national threat.
China is now being made to feel the strong repercussions of its untamed force, masquerading as an army, killing 20 Indian Army soldiers. The bilateral equations between the two countries have finally changed for the better, and India is all set to deliver repeated punches upon the dragon for its misadventures along the LAC.