New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s decision to allow all network equipment manufacturers, including China’s Huawei, to participate in the 5G trials has left the RSS’ economic affiliate, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, irritated.
SJM convener Ashwani Mahajan has written a letter to Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, questioning the government’s urgency and the participation of Huawei in the 5G trials.
“Many countries have banned Huawei due to security concerns — even those that don’t have a history of war or a common border (with China). Are we more eager than America, which has barred Huawei?” Mahajan asked.
“Our industry has the capacity to roll out the next generation, 6G. Then why are we compromising national security?”
The 5G trials are set to begin in the first quarter of 2020.
Security concerns around the world
The government’s decision has come as a major relief for Huawei, as India is a big market for it. The company has worked on 4G with the likes of Vodafone and Airtel in India.
However, the approval for trials does not imply that Huawei equipment will be cleared for a commercial rollout.
The US — and many other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Japan — have barred Huawei from the development of the fifth generation mobile technology, owing to security concerns and the alleged proximity of the manufacturer to the Chinese government.
Countries like the UK, Germany and Canada haven’t taken a decision yet, while Russia, South Korea and France have allowed Huawei to participate in the development of 5G.
China had warned India of economic consequences if the firm was kept out.
Make in India vs ‘security hazard’
China today controls a significant section of India’s telecommunications, and Mahajan alleged that information dominance is at the core of the country’s military strategy.
“Domestic companies are denied the chance to compete in their own market. How can we create high-tech production?” he asked in the letter.
“We say ‘Make in India’, then we allow a security hazard firm from China (in the trials). This is serious danger for country. We have made several representations to the government to bar Huawei, but it seems the government is not serious about security concerns.”
The SJM had earlier opposed telecom ministry officials’ visit to a 5G conference organised by Huawei. But officials say if the firm is barred, 5G rollout in India will be delayed by at least two years.
“India needs faster 5G, and we will allow Huawei after all security clearances,” a ministry official said.