Chinese multinational telecommunication firm Huawei has been invited to initiate trials for next-generation technology of 5G in India. Initially, only firms Nokia, Ericson and Samsung were invited for 5G trials, excluding Chinese firms like Huwaei and ZTE. But, later after protest from Huawei, the government decided to extend an invitation to it too.
This has prompted Telecom and Services Export Promotion Council(TEPC) to express concerns to National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, citing the global outrage against the technology of Huawei.
On December 1, United States government asked Canada to detain Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou and extradite her to them. The USA alleged that Huawei had committed fraud by obscuring its relationship with a shell-company and selling equipment to Iran, contravening Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA.
Not the only USA, but the ‘Five Eyes’ countries Austrailia, Canada, New Zeland and the UK also have banned or restricted use of Huawei products in their country. These restrictions are driven by national security concerns that these Huawei products can be hijacked or manipulated by Chinese governments to execute espionage over client countries. Countries like the USA have completely shut down 5G operations of the company alleging that Huawei is a gateway for Chinese espionage.
The concerns also arise from the fact that Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is a retired officer of the People’s Liberation Army, and the CFO Meng Wanzhou is also his daughter.
The concerns by TEPC are not much different, and it may also ask the government to be vigilant while allowing Huwaei to be part of the country’s critical infrastructure. However, Cellular Operators Association of India has discarded the anxiety of TEPC. According to Business Standard, in a letter to the Department of Telecommunication, COAI says that exclusion of certain companies on hearsay may be detrimental to the aspirations of the nation. It also added that no equipment is allowed in the network without proper test certifications.
“As a leading global supplier of telecoms equipment, we remain committed to developing trusted and secure solutions for our customers. We continue to receive full support from the Government and industry partners alike. Having a proven track record of doing business in the country, we continue to work closely with the Government of India and other industry stakeholders.” Huawei was quoted by Times of India.
The government has so far not articulated any concerns over the firm, but if government deliberates over the move it can bring many geopolitical ramifications with regards to trade with China.