As the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) continues to sit inside the Indian Territory, speculation has started over the participation of Chinese firms in 5G trials. Several applications have been submitted by Indian telecommunications operators to perform 5G studies.
While the government has not rightly prohibited the involvement of Chinese firms, it has imposed conditions in place to bar firms based in countries that share a land border with India. Restrictions on public procurement from China have already been imposed by the government and this condition can also be extended to 5G trials as spectrum is a public asset and will be provided to operators for a nominal fee to perform the trials.
No formal decision on allowing Chinese companies for 5G trials: EAM S. Jaishankar
However, amidst all these development the government is yet to make a formal call on allowing Chinese firms to participate in 5G trials. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has clarified that the government is yet to take a formal decision on this front.
Modi government has not completely closed the door for Chinese firms on 5G trials. This is evident with the fact that even after limiting Chinese investment in India and banning more than 200 mobile applications, the government has now included Chinese telecommunications equipment firm Huawei in the country's 5G network implementation working groups.
As per a report in the financial daily Mint, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has set up 5G rollout working groups in eight sectors, which includes agriculture, fintech, transportation, and education. Huawei has been given a place in the working group that will submit a report on the healthcare and fintech industries on the 5G rollout.
Western countries have banned Huawei
The inclusion comes in the midst of security concerns against the global Chinese company. On Monday, the UK government said that Huawei's new 5G gear installation will be banned from September 2021, as it plans to phase out all Huawei networks by 2027. Moreover, owing to national security risks, the US also banned Huawei gear until May.