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Union Home Secretary Says Decision to Allow Chinese Firms to Participate in 5G Auction in India Still Pending

File photo of India and China flags

File photo of India and China flags

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the government has not taken any call in this regard and discussions are still on but the government is aware of misgivings about Chinese companies.

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On the eve of Indo-China LAC talks, the Indian Home Ministry has said the decision to allow participation of Chinese companies in 5G auction is pending. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the government has not taken any call in this regard and discussions are still on but the government is aware of misgivings about Chinese companies.

Bhalla said this at a webinar organised by National Defence College when questioned about the participation of Chinese telecom players in India's 5G trials. "On 5G, the government in any case has not taken any call. Discussions are still on when it will be allowed and who are the people to be allowed," he said.

Bhalla acknowledged the misgivings about presence of Chinese companies in India and their trade practices but also pointed out to limited alternatives. "The point is very valid. The penetration of existing telecom hardware and software is too extensive," he said. "Unless we have a substitute available, we just can't switch off and say that this will not be allowed."

He, however, indicated that work is on to bring in "special safeguards to ensure the safety and security of the system of communication of the country".

Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei and its participation in the upcoming 5G trials has been under the scanner since the Indian government decided to ban Chinese apps. The decision was taken by IT ministry on advice of the MHA after intelligence agencies pointed out data misuse by Chinese apps, including data sharing of Indian users with Chinese intelligence agencies and those linked to Communist Party of China.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier said India has its security issues over allowing Huawei to participate in the upcoming 5G trials.

"We will take a firm view on it. There are also security issues...it is not only a matter of technology, as regard their participation in 5G is concerned...Participation of 5G is not conditional upon the trial being started. Whether a particular company is allowed to participate or not, is a complex question, including security issues," he had told news agencies.

China has protested against the decision to ban its apps and any decision to bar Chinese firms from 5G trial could add to the tension between the two countries even as the core commanders meet in Chushul to find a way out of the tense faceoff between armies of India and China in eastern Ladakh.


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