With an eye mainly on China, India has amended rules imposing restrictions on public procurement from bidders of countries with which it shares land border, citing grounds of defence and national security, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Bidders from these countries will be eligible only if they are registered with the Registration Committee constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the commerce ministry, said the ministry in a statement issued late last night announcing the amendment to General Finance Rules of 2017.
The bidders from these countries would also be required to take mandatory political and security clearance from external affairs and home ministries, reports our correspondent quoting the statement as saying.
However, measures would be relaxed for procurement of Covid-19 medical supplies till December 31, it added.
The finance ministry said its order for prior registration would not apply to countries to which India extends lines of credit or provides development assistance even if they share a land border with India.
India shares its border with China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Myanmar.
As per official data, India has extended lines of credit to Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and 41 African countries.
The Indian government has also directed the state governments to implement this order for all public procurement.
The finance ministry order takes into its ambit public sector banks and financial institutions, autonomous bodies, public sector enterprises and public-private partnership projects receiving financial support from the Indian government or its undertakings.
The new provisions will apply to all new tenders. In respect of tenders already invited, if the first stage of evaluation of qualifications has not been completed, bidders who are not registered under the new order will be treated as not qualified, the statement said adding if this stage has been crossed, ordinarily the tenders will be cancelled and the process will be started afresh.
The new order does not apply to procurement by the private sector.
India and China are embroiled in a military standoff at the unresolved border in eastern Ladakh where the armies of the two countries had clashed on June 15 in Galwan Valley leaving 20 Indian troops dead.
The two countries have agreed to pull-back troops from friction areas but there have been reports in the Indian media in the last two to three days that the Chinese soldiers are yet to withdraw from some parts in Ladakh.