As India and China prepare for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Beijing visit, a few tie ups are emerging on the horizon due to the intensive engagement between the two sides, despite the hiccups caused by reports of Chinese patrols entering into areas seen by India as its territory.
On the security side, India and China are working on a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement but of greater substance for the Indian economy is the progress made in the Strategic Economic Dialogue.
Though India has reservations about Chinese telecom equipment, following an intelligence scare about a back window that could transmit information back to Beijing, there are no such qualms about the power sector.
India has proposed a partnership with China on a smart grid project in one of its cities to address high transmission losses, power quality management and peak demand management. It already has similar projects with other countries running in Puducherry and Bengaluru.
More could be in the offing as India is agreeable to the setting up of repair centres for Chinese equipment, thus indicating that power generating and transmission companies here have the appetite for more of cheaper Chinese turbines, large capacity generators, transformers and circuit breakers.
The two rounds of SED and numerous working group meetings are also beginning to reveal the contours of a partnership to address climate change. India has expressed its willingness to learn from China’s experience of attempting to reduce over energy intensity of its economy. Contrary to common perception about the management of the Chinese economy, this was done during the Chinese Eleventh Plan Period through devolution of targets, enforcement and compliance.