State-run oil companies have decided to stop chartering tankers owned or operated by Chinese companies even if the vessels are registered under third-country flags. The move follows regulations issued last month to curb business dealings with China in retaliation against the Chinese army’s border transgressions in Ladakh and the death of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash.
The oil companies already have a first-right-of-refusal clause in favour 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 latest move throws vessels with any China connection out of the ring. For limited tenders, the companies will not invite bids from Chinese shipping entities previously registered with them.
Chinese vessels have a small share of the number of ships chartered by the oil companies. As such, the ban will not have much impact on oil companies’ trade. A Bloomberg report on Wednesday said the oil companies are also planning to ask oil traders and suppliers not to send shipments to India using Chinese vessels.
The power ministry had earlier banned import of Chinese equipment needed for generation, transmission and distribution projects that are manufactured in India. It also laid down a strict quality and malware testing norm for equipment allowed to be imported.