India could block Chinese Huawei over security concerns: officials | Business and economic news

New Delhi cannot prioritize economic gains if an investment poses national security risks, an official told Reuters news agency.

India is likely to block its mobile operators from using telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei under procurement rules due to go into effect in June, two government officials told the news agency. Reuters press.

New Delhi is wary of attributing new technologies to Chinese companies both because of security concerns and the desire to get Indian manufacturers to produce more telecommunications equipment.

A US campaign to curb Huawei has triggered bans or limits on the use of its equipment around the world, but the situation in India has been magnified by the strained relations between New Delhi and Beijing over their shared border.

India’s telecommunications department said on Wednesday that after June 15, operators can only purchase certain types of equipment from government-approved “trusted sources” and said New Delhi may also create a blacklist. “Without supply”. Huawei is expected to be on that embargoed list, the two officials, who declined to be named, told Reuters news agency.

“We cannot prioritize economic gains if an investment poses [a] risk to national security, ”said one of the officials.

The telecommunications department, which did not comment on Huawei on Thursday, has yet to provide details of plans from trusted sources or a blacklist of purchases.

However, a third official, who also declined to be named, told Reuters that ZTE Corp, another Chinese company with less presence in India, could also be excluded.

Huawei and ZTE are under surveillance for allegedly installing “backdoor” vulnerabilities to spy on the Chinese government.

Both have denied the allegations and Huawei had previously told Reuters it was ready to strike a “no backdoor” deal with India to ease security concerns.

Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Two of India’s big three telecommunications operators, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, use Huawei equipment. Any restrictions on Huawei equipment is likely to drive up costs, industry analysts say.

The Chinese company’s equipment and network maintenance contracts are generally cheaper than European competitors such as Ericsson and Nokia, and the availability of such equipment is limited in India.

India has started to speed up approvals of some of the more than 150 Chinese investment proposals worth more than $ 2 billion that it had suspended after a deadlock in June between the two neighbors at the disputed border of the Himalayas.

“We have started to approve investment proposals even from China, but we will not give any approvals in areas like telecommunications infrastructure and finance,” a senior government official told Reuters.

Officials also said India was unlikely to revoke last year’s ban on more than 100 Chinese mobile apps or allow Chinese companies to participate in stakes in state-owned companies such as Air. India and refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.

India plans to raise $ 23.57 billion in the 12 months from April 1 by selling state-owned enterprises.

India’s finance ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The India-China border clash, the worst in nearly four decades, had marred already fragile relations and “regaining trust would be a long way from here,” said one of the officials. sources.

India’s technology ministry did not respond to a request for comment on app bans.

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