India could block China’s Huawei over security concerns, says officials: Report

As per the latest report coming from Reuters, India could soon block its mobile carriers from using telecom equipment made by one of China’s biggest tech giant Huawei.

Several reports in the past have highlighted that the Indian government is wary about providing new technology business to Chinese companies. This is said to be due to “security fears” as well as a “desire to get Indian manufacturers to produce more telecoms equipment” or promote the government’s AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiative.

Reportedly India’s telecoms department said that “after June 15 carriers can only buy certain types of equipment from government-approved trusted sources”.

Additionally, the government has reportedly created a “no procurement” blacklist and Huawei is likely to feature on the embargoed list.

One of the officials said, “We cannot prioritise economic gains if an investment poses national security risk.” The telecom department is yet to provide official details related to the matter.

Another official who declined to be name added that ZTE is another Chinese tech company that could be named in the blacklist.

Neither Huawei or ZTE have issued an official statement on the matter yet.

Huawei and ZTE have been under scrutiny for a long time due to allegedly installing “backdoor” vulnerabilities to spy for the Chinese government. However, both the technology companies have denied these allegations.

As per a past Reuters report, Huawei confirmed that it is “ready to enter into a no backdoor deal with India to allay security concerns”.

The report noted, “Two of India’s three big telecoms carriers, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, use Huawei gear. Any restriction on Huawei gear is likely to push up costs, industry analysts say.” This is clearly because equipment and network maintenance contracts offered by Chinese companies are typically cheaper when compared to European competitors like Ericsson and Nokia. There is limited availability of such gear in India, the report states.

A senior government official told Reuters, “We have started giving some approvals to investment proposals even from China, but we will not give any approvals in sectors like telecom infrastructure and financials.”

To recall, India banned hundreds of Chinese apps last year including some of the very popular ones like TikTok and PUBG Mobile. Media reports suggest that these banned apps will never make it to the country ever again.

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