The United States has asked India to work with only trusted sources, while deploying 5G technology for its mobile networks, as the American delegation on trade led by Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross arrived in New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal.
“Our concern based on our desire to hope that our geopolitical partner India doesn't inadvertently subject itself to security risk. End of the day India has to make its own decision,” said Ross at the World Economic Forum in New Delhi on Thursday.
His comments came shortly after Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar refused to be drawn into any controversy on Huawei, saying that for India it is a telecom issue and not a political one.
Ross told a panel at the World Economic Forum that the US decision was not a protectionist measure for any competitors, but was made due to genuine security concerns.
“In fact 5G is very different from 3G or 4G where you are able to separate a peripheral part from the central part, but in 5G that is not possible. There is a sort of backdoor to infiltrate into the whole system. So the proportionality of the risk we think is very considerable,” Ross said.
President Trump had, through an executive order in May this year, banned US companies from using the telecom services of Chinese-owned Huawei, a fallout of the trade war between the two countries. The US has repeatedly accused Huawei of installing so-called backdoors on its products to allegedly assist Beijing in espionage efforts, something the company and the Chinese government vehemently deny.
India was to begin 5G trials towards the end of 2019 as the government plans to auction the spectrum, which includes 5G airwaves. India, however, has not confirmed if Huawei would be allowed to participate in the trials.
Meanwhile, Sunil Bharti Mittal, the Chairman of Indian telecom major Bharti Enterprises, said the technology offered by Huawei is far superior to its rivals.
“Huawei have become extremely good with their products in the last 10-12 years to a point that I can safely say today that, at least in the 3G/4G that we have experienced, they are significantly superior to Ericsson and Nokia," Bharti said at the World Economic Forum in New Delhi on Thursday.