India’s remote sensing programme includes myriads of satellites like CARTOSAT that are used for defence services, monitoring and Earth resource management, the programme is run by India’s premier space agency called ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). Under normal circumstances, offices of agencies running such programmes should be situated in high security zones. But in Kolkata, ISRO’s RRSC (regional remote sensing centre), is situated close to the office of Dongfang electric. This Chinese company has been marred by many controversies in the past, yet the lackadaisical attitude towards securing the premises of RRSC by Indian government is flummoxing.
A google map which shows, Dongfang electric located at a stone throw away from ISRO RRSC in Kolkatta.
The above two pics are very perplexing, as Dongfang electric has not just hired an office next to ISRO’s RRSC office in Kolkata, but there’s also a guest house which is sandwiched between two bigger structures.
Dongfang Electric Corporation is a Chinese state owned company engaged in the manufacturing of power generators and the contracts of power station projects. The company doesn’t have a decorous past. This company was earlier debarred by World Bank, in connection with fraudulent practices while bidding on a power project in Liberia. But this was not the first time Dongfang was found guilty of malpractices—whilst in South Africa General Electric had accused this China-based-company of rigging tendering process, in America Dongfang electric was involved in bribery cases. There are more incriminating evidences against the company from within India which prove the company isn’t trustworthy. On two occasions Dongfang electric supplied faulty turbines to power projects in Amarkantak, Chhattisgarh and Sagardighi, West Bengal. Despite the strategic importance of these projects, UPA government decided to not ban Chinese equipment in power projects.
By now it’s an open secret that most of the China-based-companies are a front for Chinese government to percolate into foreign countries, and to monitor key establishments of other countries.
Why should this concern us?
On the surface this might look very innocuous that Dongfang electric runs an office in a complex which lies just a stone throw away from ISRO but here are few facts that came to light recently vis-à-vis China-based-companies:
- In February earlier this year, Mitsubishi Electric was jolted by the news of two China based hacker groups carrying out “industrial spying” on their systems. This happened when Mitsubishi Electric had applied for bidding of prototype of Japanese hypersonic glide missile production. The hackers had made their way into Japanese systems through communication systems affiliated to China. Read more about it here.
Mitsubishi Headquarters, pic credit: Asahi
- In 2015, Amazon Prime Video stumbled upon a tiny microchip that wasn’t part of the original board design of their servers. The Chinese spies had infiltrated Super Microcomputer Inc and American agencies were caught napping. This struck like a thunderbolt on the US’s intelligence community.
Pic credit: Bloomberg
- China was also accused of spying on the servers of the African Union’s headquarters for more than five years, gaining access to confidential information. The building was a “gift” by the Chinese government to African Union.
Pic credit: reuters
These are just few examples of Communist party of China runs its businesses around the world.
These are just few of the high profile hacking and monitoring cases against China-based-companies, which have come to the fore.
ISRO, is one of India’s most prestigious organization, which has earned the country many jubilant moments. With it’s Mars mission (Mangalyaan) India stunned the world with an unmanned spacecraft (Mangalyaan) that reached Mars at a fraction of cost incurred by NASA for similar project. Whilst Moon mission (Chandrayaan) discovered the presence of water molecules in lunar soil.
Since ISRO’s remote sensing centres work in providing defence services, it is imperative to prevent enemy nations from getting get any access to such offices. Irony is—the Chinese company is located in the same complex as West Bengal electricity regulatory commission.
Coordinates of Dongfang Electric in West Bengal : 22.5824743,88.4552076
Picture of Khalifa International Stadium and Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar captured by Isro’s Cartosat-3. Cameras of Cartosat-3 can capture anything 25cm above the ground level. Pic credit: LiveMint
An article by Levina
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