India is gradually phasing out Chinese vendors from its telecoms networks amid rising tensions between the world’s most populous countries following deadly border clashes, according to a Financial Times report.
The move includes Huawei Technologies, but rather than an outright ban on the company like some other nations have done, the India government is more likely to quietly remove existing equipment from the Chinese tech giant, the FT reported.
India’s telecoms department has already prohibited 5G testing with Chinese vendors and the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very wary about Chinese investment in sensitive infrastructure, according to the report.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
However, New Delhi is unlikely to formally ban Huawei or other Chinese equipment companies in case it provokes a tough response from Beijing, the FT report quoted a senior government official as saying, adding that the thinking of the government was “Let’s do tough rather than talk tough.”
A spokesperson for Huawei said the company “does not comment on speculation”.
India, the world’s second largest mobile market with 850 million users, allowed Huawei to participate in 5G trials earlier this year.
Huawei has been able to secure significant contracts with Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and state-owned BSNL. It is unclear what will happen with these contracts.
India’s stance against Chinese tech companies changed after a deadly skirmish between the Indian Army and Chinese troops along the two nations’ disputed Himalayan border in June.
Anti-China sentiment in India has grown since the clash. ByteDance's TikTok, Tencent's WeChat, Alibaba's browser and Baidu maps were among 59 Chinese apps banned by the Indian government.
India’s reported move comes as Huawei is facing rising political pressure in western countries, from the UK to Australia, where it has been banned from providing 5G kit amid concerns Beijing could hack into countries’ networks and other critical infrastructure. Huawei has always denied that it would allow Beijing to access its customer networks.
Huawei is also facing crippling sanctions from the US, which this month clarified the Chinese telecoms company cannot buy off-the-shelf chips from fabless semiconductor companies such as Qualcomm and MediaTek because they involve US core tech.
In May, Washington expanded its sanctions against Huawei by prohibiting foreign chip makers like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) from using US equipment to produce chips for the Chinese company. That move followed Huawei’s inclusion on a US trade blacklist a year earlier.
More from South China Morning Post:
- China’s Huawei, ZTE set to be shut out of India’s 5G trials over national security concerns
- With Huawei facing hurdles in Europe, Chinese smartphone brand Oppo eyes expansion
This article India to slowly phase out Huawei and other Chinese vendors from its telecoms network, FT reports first appeared on South China Morning Post