A top US State Department official has stated that India’s recent decision to allow 5G trials without Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE is a sovereign one, reports Hindustan Times.
He also underscored that America was deeply concerned about the dangers of installing networks with equipment that can be manipulated, disrupted, or potentially controlled by China.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, at his daily news conference on Tuesday, said: “This was a sovereign decision on the part of the Indian government, so we refer you to the Government of India for any comment on that decision”.
“Allowing untested, untrusted telecommunication suppliers, like Huawei or ZTE, to participate in or to have any control over any part of a 5G network creates unacceptable risks to national security, to critical infrastructure, to privacy and to human rights as well,” Price said.
On Tuesday (4 May), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) granted approval to nearly a dozen companies to conduct a six-month trial for use and applications of 5G technology. The telecom service providers (TSPs) included Bharti Airtel, Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd and MTNL who have tied up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers which are Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT.
There was no Chinese company -- Huawei or ZTE -- in the list that have been operating in India for several years.
Beijing had expressed deep concerns over India's new telecom policy saying that the move was not conducive to the innovation and development of related Indian industries.
Wang Xiaojian, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, said in a statement that China expresses "concern and regret that Chinese telecommunications companies have not been permitted to conduct 5G trials with Indian Telecom Service Providers in India."
"Relevant Chinese companies have been operating in India for years, providing mass job opportunities and making a contribution to India's infrastructure construction in telecommunications," Xiaojian said.
"To exclude Chinese telecommunications companies from the trials will not only harm their legitimate rights and interests but also hinder the improvement of the Indian business environment, which is not conducive to the innovation and development of related Indian industries".
Like the US and the UK, there have been demands from the industry stakeholders like the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) to ban Huawei and ZTE Corporation of China from participating in 5G network rollout in India.
Last year, the US had designated Huawei and ZTE as “national security threats”, saying they have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military ecosystem.
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