The Department of Telecom is set to ask state-owned telecommunications company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) not to use Chinese equipment in the upgradation of its 4G faculties, which is being supported as part of the company's rehabilitation package. Government sources said the department has been asked to rework the tender in this regard.
The sources said a similar message will be conveyed to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL).
The department is also actively considering taking steps to ask private mobile service operators to speedily reduce their dependence on China-made equipment.
The network security of equipment made by Chinese companies are always raising questions about security, added the sources.
The move came in the aftermath of violent clashes on Monday night between the armies of India and China, which left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead in Ladakh's Galwan valley. This was the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La in 1967 when India lost around 80 soldiers while more than 300 Chinese army personnel were killed.
The standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh has stirred anti-China sentiments in India, with protesters and trade bodies like CAIT calling for a boycott of Chinese products.
Earlier on Wednesday, Chinese handset maker Oppo cancelled the livestream launch of its flagship 5G smartphone in the country amid protests calling for the boycott of Chinese products in various parts of the country.
Oppo, which ranks among the top five smartphone vendors in India, had said it will livestream the launch of its Find X2 smartphone on Wednesday via YouTube. However, the livestream was cancelled later on, and the company instead uploaded a pre-recorded video.
Four of the five top smartphone brands in India (Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme and Oppo) are from China and accounted for almost 76% share of smartphones shipped in India in the quarter ended March 2020. South Korea's Samsung, which ranked third and cornered 15.6% share of shipment in the said quarter, is the only non-Chinese firm in the top five tally.
Lieutenant General Deependra Singh Hooda (retired) had last year said it was time India replaced foreign hardware, particularly from critical infrastructure, and had said that BSNL has 60% Chinese dependency. "I think it's time that we need to move towards greater indigenisation, and the government has a policy that preference be given to indigenous products in IT. But I think this policy needs much greater strengthening," he had said.
(With inputs from PTI)