China is blackmailing India into using Huawei for its 5G infrastructure, said a US Congressman on Tuesday. The news comes a day after a similar report claimed that China has threatened Indian businesses operating in China of 'reverse sanctions' if India decides to block the tech firm.
"China is now blackmailing India into using Huawei for its 5G infrastructure — they know no bounds!" PTI quoted Congressman Jim Banks as saying.
The Chinese Communist Party "moves to strong-arming countries into exposing themselves to surveillance and espionage", added Banks.
Huawei Technology, a Chinese telecom and electronic equipment maker, has been the bone of contention between the United States and China after US President Donald Trump's administration threatened to impose tariffs worth $300 billion on the company citing national security threats. The US accused China of spying on America and its allies through the devices.
The US also exerted pressure earlier this week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the country "won't be able to share" information with others who decide to adopt Huawei technology. "We won't be able to work alongside them," he said.
India will be conducting trials for the installation of the next-generation 5G cellular network in the next few months. However, New Delhi has not decided whether it would invite Huawei to take part in the trial, Telecoms minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Reuters.
Prasad had earlier stated that the matter concerns security issues in India and said, "Whether a particular company is allowed to participate or not is a complex question including security issues."
He also said that six proposals have been received for 5G technology trials, including from Huawei. While the names of the firms have not been revealed, companies such as Sweden's Ericsson, Finland's Nokia and South Korea's Samsung Electronics are expected to participate.
The telecoms minister had also stated that India plans to develop its own 5G network.
The US Congressman's allegations came a day after Reuters reported that the Chinese foreign ministry recently invited India's ambassador to Beijing Vikram Misri for discussing the 5G issue. Citing two sources, the report revealed that Chinese officials spoke about their concerns regarding the US's push to keep Huawei out of participating in the 5G mobile infrastructure worldwide.
The Chinese officials warned India of "reverse sanctions" on Indian companies operating in China if the Indian government goes ahead and blocks Huawei.
China has responded to the report and said that Beijing hopes India makes an independent decision on 5G bidders, away from American pressure. "Huawei has carried out operations in India for a long time, and has made contributions to the development of Indian society and the economy that is clear to all," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.
"On the issue of Chinese enterprises participating in the construction of India's 5G, we hope the Indian side makes an independent and objective decision, and provides a fair, just and non-discriminatory commercial environment for Chinese enterprises' investment and operations, to realize mutual benefit," said Hua Chunying.
The Indian foreign ministry has not commented on the statement.