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Beijing objects to Chinese companies being excluded from 5G trials in India

A telecom tower

The government of China objected to Chinese gear makers like Huawei and ZTE not being included in 5G trials in India, which the Department of Telecommunications announced this week would start soon. The spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, Wang Xiaojian, said in a statement published on the embassy’s website, that

We noted [the] relevant notification, and express concern and regret that Chinese telecommunications companies have not been permitted to conduct 5G trials with Indian Telecom Service Providers in India.

Relevant Chinese companies have been operating in India for years, providing mass job opportunities and making contribution to India’s infrastructure construction in telecommunications. To exclude Chinese telecommunications companies from the trials will not only harm their legitimate rights and interests, but also hinder the improvement of the Indian business environment, which is not conducive to the innovation and development of related Indian industries.

The Chinese side hopes that India could do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries, and provide an open, fair, just, and non-discriminatory investment and business environment for market entities from all countries, including China, to operate and invest in India.

Ever since the border skirmishes between India and China in 2020, the Indian government has taken retaliatory measures such as increased import scrutiny, and in terms of telecom, joining the US-led rally against companies like Huawei and ZTE on national security grounds. Some of those tensions have cooled, with India agreeing to purchase relief material from China during the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some lines seem to have been drawn in the sand, such as a prohibition of Chinese companies in India’s 5G rollout.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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