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D10: Britain proposes new alliance of 10 democracies including India, South Korea, Australia and G7 nations to break China’s monopoly on 5G technology

Britain has planned to club India, South Korea and Australia along with G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada – to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid dependence on China for vital technologies

The United Kingdom is seeking to form a new alliance of 10 5G countries, dubbed as ‘D10’, to align against China and reduce its reliance on Beijing, especially on Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Britain has planned to club India, South Korea and Australia along with G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada – to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid dependence on China for vital technologies.

The move comes amidst the backdrop of heightened security concerns after the United Kingdom launched a probe into Huawei’s involvement in the country’s mobile network upgrade following the United States imposed sanctions against the Chinese telecom company. According to the sources, the proposal has already been shared with Washington.

“We need new competitors in the market. That was the reason we ended up having to go along with Huawei at the time,” the Times quoted a UK government source as saying.

As of now, Nokia and Ericsson are the only companies capable of providing 5G infrastructure but none of the two can as quickly and cheaply as Huawei. Britain has categorised Huawei a “high-risk” supplier and therefore its participation in the UK’s 5G upgrade comes with a 35% market cap, including a ban on its involvement in the sensitive “core” of the network.

The decision to unite against China comes at a time when the world is reeling under the coronavirus crisis and countries hit by the infection have been demanding to hold China accountable for unleashing a pandemic which is believed to have originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The United Kingdom has accused the Communist government in China of concealing vital information and covering up the initial coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

United States sanctions against Huawei

The United States had recently imposed sanctions against Huawei which included banning the sale of American chips to the company. Defending the sanctions, Washington asserted that it did not want to help the Chinese in spying against the Western nations.

After American announced the additional set of sanctions against the Chinese telecom giant, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre said that it is carefully assessing the impact that the company could have on the UK’s networks.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week chalked up plans to scrap China’s involvement in the UK internet infrastructure. He has reportedly told officials that he wants to completely get rid of China’s involvement in UK’s network by 2023. Earlier, he had also called upon the country to come self-sufficient and less dependent on China for goods.

The United States has mounted continuous pressure on Britain to cast aside the Huawei deal. with the American president- Donald Trump threatening to snap the United Kingdom’s access to intelligence typically shared between the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

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