India seeks to shut out Chinese vendors from 5G networks

India seeks to shut out Chinese vendors from 5G networks

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is set to issue an approved suppliers list for operators looking to buy certain network equipment – with Chinese vendors widely expected to miss out.

Reuters quotes unnamed sources as saying that national security concerns – as well as India’s ongoing political tensions with China – would likely result in Huawei and ZTE being placed on an embargo list that will come into effect on 15th June. Currently no details have been issued on the vendors likely to make the “trusted sources” list.

The Economic Times reported that India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) is expected to inform operators of the exact equipment that they must procure from government-approved vendors, with COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) likely to request a meeting with the NCSC and DoT for further details.

India has been at loggerheads with China since June 2020, when a border conflict at the Galwan region escalated into a skirmish that prompted India to take action against Chinese companies, including tech firms. Several Chinese apps were blocked, while the DoT considered banning state-owned operators from using Chinese mobile network equipment.

The anti-China sentiment was an about-face for India, which had long held out against pressure from the US to ban operators from using Chinese-made equipment in their 5G networks on the grounds that local operators considered gear from Huawei and ZTE to be both more affordable and advanced.